As people live longer, do they face fewer acute conditions and more chronic health conditions?
Yes. The incidence of acute or temporary conditions, such as infections or the common cold, decreases with age, although those that do occur can be more debilitating and require more care. Older people are much more likely than the young to suffer from chronic conditions. These are long-term (more than three months), often permanent, and leave a residual disability that may require long-term management or care rather than cure. More than 80 percent of persons age 65 and over have at least one chronic condition, with multiple health problems being common. Arthritis is the most commonly occurring chronic condition.
Linda Breytspraak, Center on Aging Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Sunday, July 06, 2008