Friday, March 09, 2007
How do you "chase life?"
Ask almost anyone how he or she would like to live their golden years, and they'll tell you they want to be independent and active. Yet a new report finds more than four in five older Americans living with at least one chronic disease and half living with at least two, potentially cutting into the enjoyment of people's final decades. That's because chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke can cause pain, diminished function and loss of independence.
The report, released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Merck Company Foundation, suggests these figures might get worse in coming years. (Click here for a copy of the report) That's because how you live affects not only longevity, but how healthy you're likely to be in your retirement years.
The most recent statistics available on Americans 55-64 shows they are not as a group living particularly healthy lives. For example, 42 percent reported having high blood pressure; 57 percent weren't physically active; and 12 percent were diabetic. High blood pressure and lack of physical activity are also among the conditions that increase the risk of mental decline.
No one would choose pain, diminished function and a loss of independence in his or her retirement years, but that's potentially the result of decisions people make every day. Do you smoke? Do you exercise? Is your diet healthy?
In an upcoming Special Investigations Unit program, "Chasing Life" (airs 8 p.m. ET April 14-15 on CNN), Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at ways to live the longest, healthiest life possible. The leading killers - heart disease, cancer and stroke - are often preventable with healthy lifestyle choices. In the course of our research, one of the scientists interviewed said the goal should be to live like a light bulb, burning brightly until the day we go out.
It's a nice image.
Tell us about any lifestyle changes you've made to "chase life."
ABOUT THE BLOGGet a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends -- info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
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