Advertisement

What are age-related chronic diseases?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
With the exception of a few contagious illnesses (HIV infection, for example), most of the chronic conditions that affect us as we age are not diseases in the way we generally think of the term -- that is, infectious diseases. Nor are they usually purely inheritable genetic diseases, where the problem is something structurally wrong with us from the time we were born, and is therefore something we cannot influence. Rather, these chronic conditions are examples of the body itself beginning to come undone as a result of aging. The image of a machine wearing down its parts is apt. These chronic conditions -- heart disease, kidney disease, endocrine malfunction -- are what we mean by age-related disease, or aging until calendar age ninety or so. Yet, and this is important, these conditions also serve to accelerate the rate at which other parts of us age, too. By managing such conditions, we can control, in large part, the degree to which whatever we mean by "aging" -- for most of us, that's age-related disease -- will age us.

Continue Learning about Aging & Increased Health Risks

Why does aging increase the risk of food-related illnesses?
Academy of Nutrition and DieteticsAcademy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Food safety is very important for older adults because they are at increased risk of foodborne i...
More Answers
How can some of the world's oldest people be so unhealthy?
Discovery HealthDiscovery Health
If you are drawn to a buffet table with a flashing "all you can eat" sign over it, and if the most s...
More Answers
Want to Stay Young? Watch Your Blood Pressure
Want to Stay Young? Watch Your Blood Pressure
What Is the Greatest Risk to Worldwide Health for Adults?
What Is the Greatest Risk to Worldwide Health for Adults?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.