Most, but not all, older adults have chronic conditions. Aging increases the risk of cancer, dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis. In fact, 94.9% of adults 60 and older have at least one chronic condition, and 78.7% have two or more.

Quality Life Services in western Pennsylvania helps older adults with chronic conditions and their families by providing high-quality senior care services to help older adults lead the most independent lives possible.

Common Chronic Conditions in Older Adults

Here are some of the most common chronic conditions:


Hypertension is called the “silent killer” because it typically has no symptoms. High blood pressure is generally diagnosed incidentally during a routine doctor’s visit. It increases your risk of other serious conditions, including heart attacks and strokes. Hypertension can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, exercising regularly and moderating salt and alcohol intake.


Arthritis is more common in women and people who work highly physical jobs when younger. Your joints become inflamed, painful, and stiff slowly over a period of time. Exercise helps prevent arthritis and slow its progression, and keeping your weight down helps relieve pressure on knees. Arthritis is a leading cause of needing knee replacement surgery.

High Cholesterol

Many older adults experience high cholesterol, which can result in heart disease by causing your arteries to become clogged. More than half of seniors are treated for high cholesterol. You can reduce your risk by not smoking, moderating alcohol, exercising, managing your weight, and avoiding saturated and trans fats. High cholesterol is often treated with statins, which are a cheap medication with few side effects.


Type 2 diabetes is typically genetic, although it can also be a long-term complication of pregnancy. This kind of diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, meaning your body is not processing insulin properly. This results in high blood sugar, which can eventually result in kidney disease, heart disease, or blindness. Eating a healthy diet and moderating alcohol, as well as exercising can help. If you have pre-diabetes, meaning your blood sugar is elevated but not yet dangerously so, you should attempt to lose weight.

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease is caused by a build-up of plaque in the arteries leading to the heart. This reduces blood flow to the heart and can eventually lead to angina or a heart attack. Quitting smoking is a great way to reduce your risk, but you should also exercise, manage stress, get enough sleep, and avoid saturated and trans fats (these are major components of plaque).


Older adults are at higher risk of depression, even if they didn’t have it when they were younger. If they do, it can worsen or come back. Isolation can trigger depression; when somebody starts to lose their mobility, their social life can go with it. A healthy diet, good stress management, and exercise can help, but many older adults with depression benefit from psychotherapy. Increasing companionship can really help with depression.


Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, but there are other kinds. Dementia often runs in families, although vascular dementia can occur after a stroke or a fall, causing a head injury. Dementia is not normal aging and causes memory loss and difficulty thinking which interferes with daily activities. Exercise and sleep help reduce your risk of dementia.

These are just some of the chronic conditions common in older adults. If you notice symptoms of these conditions, you should talk to your doctor right away. Sometimes family members will notice something before the person does.

Care Available for Your Loved Ones in Western Pennsylvania

If you or a family member have been diagnosed with a chronic condition and need extra help, Quality Life Services is here in Western Pennsylvania. Call us today at 724-731-0770 and ask about our skilled nursing, home health and hospice programs and which might be the right fit for you or your loved one.


Image credit: Max Acronym / Shutterstock