The health issues that strike after age 50 don’t come out of the blue. Though they’re diagnosed at that age, the underlying disease gradually develops for years before you notice signs of a problem. You can prevent most chronic diseases with routine wellness visits that catch them early. But by the time symptoms appear, the condition has reached an advanced stage.
Healthstone Primary Care Partners in Weston, Pembroke Pines, and Davie, Florida, offers exceptional support and medical care at every stage. Whenever possible, they help you prevent age-related health issues.
After you’re diagnosed, you can depend on their expertise in chronic disease management to provide the individualized care you need to maintain optimal health.
These are the top five chronic health conditions diagnosed after age 50:
1. High blood pressure
Your risk of developing high blood pressure steadily increases as you get older. While 8% of adults 18-39 have high blood pressure, that number jumps to 33% in the 40-59 age group.
High blood pressure results from years of unhealthy lifestyle habits, including:
- Consuming too much salt
- Not engaging in regular exercise
- Being overweight or obese
- Living with stress
- Smoking cigarettes
- Drinking too much alcohol
Getting older also adds to the problem. Your arteries naturally become less elastic with age, boosting your blood pressure even if you follow a healthy lifestyle.
Osteoarthritis is a wear-and-tear disease that occurs as everyday activities take a toll on your joints. A protective layer of cartilage allows bones to glide over each other as you move the joint.
Years of daily, repeated movements gradually wear down the cartilage, allowing bone to grate against bone. As osteoarthritis progresses, inflammation develops, more bone and tissue damage occurs, and your pain increases.
Though everyone’s joints degenerate at a different pace, and a joint injury accelerates the problem, osteoarthritis usually appears in people over 50.
3. Type 2 diabetes
When you eat carbohydrates, your blood sugar (glucose) rises above the normal range. High sugar kicks your pancreas into action. It releases insulin, which restores normal blood sugar levels by getting rid of the excess glucose.
One way insulin works is by escorting sugar into cells that need it for energy. When cells stop responding to insulin (insulin resistance), your blood sugar stays too high and Type 2 diabetes develops.
The primary causes of insulin resistance — being overweight, lack of exercise, and an unhealthy diet — take time to result in full-blown diabetes. As a result, most cases are diagnosed after the age of 45.
Your bones naturally get rid of old bone and replace it with new bone. Until age 50, your bones stay strong because your body produces bone at the same pace as it breaks down.
After 50, the scales tip and bone loss occurs faster than your body can produce new bone. Without taking steps to improve the balance, your bones lose density and osteoporosis develops.
The risk of osteoporosis dramatically increases for women in the years after menopause. On average, menopause occurs around age 51. Then the loss of estrogen leads to rapid bone loss.
5. Heart disease
Heart disease, the leading cause of death in women and men, goes hand-in-hand with another condition that often appears after 50: high cholesterol.
High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes (along with being overweight, smoking, and lack of exercise) are the top causes of heart disease.
Coronary artery disease (clogged arteries) is the most common type of heart disease. However, many people develop congestive heart failure and arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) like atrial fibrillation.
Like all the diseases on this list, your risk of heart disease increases with age, with most heart attacks occurring after 45 in men and 50 in women.
Whether you want to schedule a wellness visit to prevent health problems or you need comprehensive chronic disease management, the team at Healthstone Primary Care Partners is here to help. Call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today.