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Multiple Chronic Illnesses Plague the Elderly

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:06:48 +0000

Purestock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- Even with all the advances in medicine that occur with greater frequency than ever before in history, increases in life expectancy among older Americans is slowing.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health say it has to do with the fact that close to 80 percent of people 67 and over are afflicted with more than one serious medical condition and, as a result, live shorter lives.

The study’s lead author, Eva H. DuGoff, goes as far as to say that, “Living with multiple chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease and heart failure is now the norm and not the exception in the United States.”

Naturally, the severity of the disease affects life expectancy, according to DuGoff. For instance, someone with heart disease at age 67 is still expected to live 21 more years on average, while a 67-year-old person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease will only live 12 more years.

Meanwhile, when multiple chronic diseases are involved, the study finds that each one shaves off an additional 1.8 years.

If there’s any one reason as to why the U.S. life expectancy is slowing down more than other developed nations, it’s most likely the obesity epidemic and all the diseases caused by it.

The Johns Hopkins study also conceded that the current system set up to deal with people’s medical problems isn’t equipped to handle those with so many different illnesses.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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