3 Age-Related Diseases That Can Be Prevented 

As you age, the days of forgetting to take your multivitamins become less frequent. In their place are a half-dozen medications that aren’t nearly as ‘optional’ as they were 30 years ago. Whether you’re taking blood pressure medication to lower hypertension or pills to manage type 2 diabetes, there are numerous medications older adults take every day to protect themselves against various age-related diseases. 

But what are these diseases — and can you prevent them in the first place? 

While many conditions aren’t completely avoidable, today we’re discussing three age-related diseases that you can proactively work toward preventing in the future. 

#1 Heart Disease 

The name alone may not sound too intimidating, but heart disease is the number one cause of death for people in the United States. In fact, it’s so common that one person dies from cardiovascular disease every 33 seconds

So, what is this silent but deadly killer that’s responsible for approximately 20% of the deaths in the United States? 

What It Is 

Otherwise known as cardiovascular disease, heart disease comes in many types that can affect people of all ages, and the risk of developing one of them only increases as you age. 

Some of the most common types include: 

  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) 
    CAD occurs when the major vessels supplying blood to the heart have difficulty sending it enough blood and oxygen. Cholesterol deposits are usually the main cause of CAD, and the condition generally develops over several decades. 
  • Heart Attack 
    When CAD goes undiagnosed, individuals may not know they have it until the blockages cause a heart attack, which happens when the blood flow to the heart becomes severely blocked. 

How to Prevent It 

While there’s no guarantee that you can be completely safe against cardiovascular disease, there are a few preventative measures you can take to lower your risk: 

  • Increase your physical activity 
    From taking a walk around your neighborhood to enjoying a leisurely swim in the pool, there are countless ways to incorporate daily exercise to help strengthen not only your heart but also your mind and body. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight 
    With exercise and a healthy diet, you can sustain the ideal weight for your body type and lower your risk of heart conditions related to heart disease, like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. 

#2 Osteoporosis 

There are an estimated 10 million Americans aged 50 and older with osteoporosis. Of those 10 million, approximately 8 million are women — but that doesn’t mean that men aren’t also at risk. 

What It Is 

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become brittle, resulting in a higher likelihood of breaking a bone, especially in the wrist, hip or spine. Postmenopausal women are at the highest risk due to a potential deficiency in estrogen, which often occurs during and after menopause. 

How to Prevent It 

There are several ways you can take a proactive stand against osteoporosis: 

  • Eat foods that support bone health 
    Remember to consume food and drinks that are plentiful in calcium and vitamin D, like milk, fish and leafy green vegetables. 
  • Get plenty of sunlight 
    The sun’s rays provide us with natural vitamin D, so be sure to enjoy an outdoor 20-minute walk a few days a week while you soak in the sun. Not only will your skin absorb the vitamin D, but the walk can help strengthen your bones. 

#3 Alzheimer’s Disease 

Did you know that by 2050, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is expected to climb from 6 million to an astronomical 13 million? But what is this disease and what can you do to steer clear of it as you age? 

What It Is 

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that accounts for 60 to 80% of all dementia cases. It affects a person’s memory as well as the way they think and behave. While symptoms often go unnoticed at first, they eventually become severe enough to make even the simplest of daily tasks challenging or even impossible. 

How to Prevent It: 

People aged 65 and older are at the greatest risk of getting Alzheimer’s. While you can’t control every potential factor that might increase your risk of Alzheimer’s, like genetics, there are some measures you can take to reduce your risk

  • Manage your blood pressure. 
  • Stay physically active. 
  • Prevent (and correct) hearing loss. 
  • Get adequate sleep every night. 

Find Your Career Path at the University of Florida 

If you’re passionate about making a difference in the lives of older adults and are intrigued by the prospect of preventing these conditions, then a career in the field of aging may be a promising path for you. To further your knowledge and expertise, consider one of UF’s entirely online graduate programs in aging. 

We offer a range of comprehensive online graduate programs designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the field of aging. Our programs include: 

As a virtual Gator, you’ll bask in plenty of benefits: 

  • Accessibility 
    No clinical experience or campus visits are required. 
  • Affordability 
    Tuition is competitively priced and multiple tuition assistance options are available. 
  • Efficiency 
    Earn a master’s degree in as little as one year with full-time enrollment. 
  • Flexibility 
    Courses are asynchronous and can be completed at your convenience. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in the field of aging. Browse our program offerings today and take the first step toward a rewarding career dedicated to improving the lives of older adults.