Morbidity and Mortality among Older Adults

By:
Ryan Lipinski (October 16, 2006)

 

Morbidity and Mortality among Older Adults

The morbidity and mortality rates of older adults are an important piece of information. Mainly because we will all grow old and should know what to expect and how to deal with it. There are many factors that play into morbidity all of which lead towards mortality. By learning to identify these factors and adjusting our lifestyle to help prevent them we can live longer and healthier lives.

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Morbidity and Mortality Rates

According to the CDC, the top five leading causes in Michigan are heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and unintentional injuries (2003). Heart disease seems to take precedence in our community perhaps due to the fast food and fast lifestyles. Cancer and strokes I feel rank in the top five because of the lack of knowledge about the early warning signs. The chronic respiratory diseases could be caused by pollution, smoking, and many other reasons. Unintentional injuries may be due to the lack of coordination building exercise. Nonetheless, these are all factors of morbidity and mortality that can be prevented.

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The CDC states that currently, about eighty percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and fifty percent have at least two. These conditions can cause years of disability, pain, and loss of function (2006). “The elderly frequently suffer from multiple forms of chronic disease at their time of death. This makes it difficult for doctors to identify the underlying cause of death among the several conditions. Even though a single cause may be listed in all statistical reporting systems, death certificates allow for listing of other causes in addition to the presumed underlying cause up to twenty.” Roughly three fourths of all deaths are at ages sixty five and older (Sahyoun, Lentzner, & Robinson, 2006).

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A lot of the elderly in our community have a lack of income causing an inability to acquire health care as needed for their conditions and have to rely on government support. This means they have long waits for appointments, and may be seen by several different doctors throughout their treatment. They also tend to buy their medications from where ever it may be convenient instead of from one source in which case the pharmacist may miss any mistakes. One doctor may not know what the other has done or is doing; thus, causing some conditions to be over or under looked, and prescriptions of medications that may contradict one another.

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Health Promotion Needs for Morbidity

Many of the debilitating conditions that we face such as the top five causes for morbidity can be reduced and/or prevented if we take care in what we eat and how we live our lives. With a proper introduction of a nutritional diet and exercise routine we can ward off any of these conditions, therefore extending our life expectancy. Monitoring what we eat and reducing the intake of fast foods and junk food such as candy and Little Debbie snacks can greatly reduce our risk of heart disease, cancers, stroke, and chronic respiratory problems. Research by the CDC has shown that healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as being physically active, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking, are more influential than genetic factors in helping older people avoid the deterioration traditionally associated with aging (2006).

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With the introduction of a regular exercise routine we can build coordination, build a stronger heart, and a longer stamina. Research by the CDC shows a strong body of scientific evidence that physical activity can help older people maintain their health and functional abilities. Regular physical activity can help reduce a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease by increasing levels of lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, sometimes called the “good cholesterol.” Balance training can help to prevent falls among older people by helping them maintain and improve their balance. “There are many benefits to a physically active older adult. One of which is a dramatic drop in healthcare costs. Physical activity can reduce healthcare cost by as much as seventy seven billion dollars annually (in 2000 dollars)” (2004). The CDC states that by preventing disease and injury, we also can help seniors remain independent for as long as possible, which can improve their quality of life and delay the need for costly long-term care (2006).

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Health Promotion Needs for Mortality

According to the CDC, with the increase of elderly in our population you develop a need for an increase of short and long term healthcare. Today, more than thirty six million Americans are this age group, and that number is expected to grow over the next twenty five years to over seventy million as baby boomers age… The aging America is triggering a higher demand for health care and social services (2006). Because of the increase of elderly we can expect an increase of health care costs; thus, putting a strain on the economy and government due to the lack of affordability. Because the population will be older and greater in number in the coming years, overall U.S. health care costs are projected to increase twenty five percent by twenty thirty (2006).

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If we focus on the causes of mortality and work to prevent them before they start we can effectively lower the need for health care. By lowering the need for health care we lessen the strain on the economy by reducing the costs of long term care of the chronically sick. We can accomplish this by educating the public early on in their lives and create programs that assist the current older population in adjusting to a healthier lifestyle.

References

  1. (2003). Health data for all ages. Retrieved October 15, 2006,
    from http://209.217.72.34/HDAA/Tableviewer/Tableview.aspx
  2. (2004). Spotlight: Physical activity and older Americans. Retrieved October
    15, 2006, from the CDC database.
  3. (2006). Healthy aging: Preventing disease and improving quality of life
    among older Americans. Retrieved October 15, 2006, from the CDC
    database.
  4. Sahyoun, N.R., Lentzner, H., & Robinson, K.N. (2006). Trends in causes of
    death among the elderly. Retrieved October 15, 2006, from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ahcd/agingtrends/oldeath.pdf

 

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