Health  

Living longer brings years of poor health


•People in 60s set to suffer at least four diseases by time they reach 80
•Cancer cases due to rise by 179.4%, diabetes sufferers by 118.1%

People in their 60s are set to suffer at least four diseases by the time they reach their 80s, new research reveals. In 2035 men are expected to live 3.6 years, and women 2.9 years, longer than they do now, however, two-thirds of this extra time will be spent suffering from multiple illnesses, a study found.

Cancer cases among the elderly are due to rise by 179.4 per cent and diabetes by 118.1 per cent, the research adds. This is thought to be due to rising rates of obesity and falling activity levels making people less healthy, according to the researchers.

The findings were published in the journal Age and Ageing. Lead author Professor Carol Jagger from Newcastle University, United Kingdom (U.K.) said: “Multi-morbidity increases the likelihood of hospital admission and a longer stay, along with a higher rate of readmission, and these factors will continue to contribute to crises in the British National Health Service (NHS).”

The number of people aged 85 or over is expected to double in the next 20 years. The researchers analysed three surveys on ageing that allowed them to create predictive models that estimate future life expediencies and morbidity levels.

Doctor diagnoses of chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer and arthritis, determined the surveys’ participants’ health statuses.Examinations were carried out to assess their dementia and impaired hearing risks.

Results reveal that between 2015 and 2035, the number of older people with four or more diseases and health issues will double. Of these sufferers, a third will have poor mental health, including dementia or depression. Jagger said: “Much of the increase in four or more diseases, which we term complex multi-morbidity, is a result of the growth in the population aged 85 years and over.

“More worryingly, our model shows that future young-old adults, aged 65-to-74 years, are more likely to have two or three diseases than in the past. “This is due to their higher prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity which are risk factors for multiple diseases.

“These findings have enormous implications for how we should consider the structure and resources for the NHS in the future. “Multi-morbidity increases the likelihood of hospital admission and a longer stay, along with a higher rate of readmission, and these factors will continue to contribute to crises in the NHS.”

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