Living Well with Health Challenges

elderly man getting blood pressure taken at doctor's office

As people live longer, the likelihood of developing a health condition increases. The American Geriatrics Society estimates that 80% of seniors have more than one chronic health problem. Some of the most common include high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, arthritis, diabetes and heart conditions – everything from atrial fibrillation to congestive heart failure.

But these conditions don’t have to lessen your ability to live well. Here are some tips to help you manage a chronic health condition:

Keep moving

Don’t let a chronic condition keep you from participating in life. This includes exercise. Most health challenges – including hypertension, arthritis and diabetes – are helped by physical activity. Be sure and talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.

Put yourself first

Many people with spouses and/or children often put their needs above their own. But for people suffering from a chronic condition, it’s important to take care of yourself first. A flight attendant will instruct you to put your mask on before assisting others. The same advice applies here. Take care of yourself so you will be better able to participate in the lives of your family.

Be willing to share your feelings

Let others know what frustrations, fears and concerns you’re facing. First, bottling up your emotions can cause further health consequences, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Rochester. Second, sharing your feelings with family and friends will allow them the opportunity to provide meaningful assistance.


Mindful meditation has been shown to help in pain reduction and even reducing the risk of death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients. For many people, meditation produces a trance-like state, which allows your body to relax, a condition highly conducive to cell regeneration, blood flow and a lower heart rate. This relaxed state allows the blood to do its work, cleansing the body of pathogens, which can be responsible for many chronic conditions.

Become educated

Learn as much about your condition as you can. Talk to your doctor to learn about prognoses and treatments. The more you know, the better you will be able to help mitigate the pain and discomfort your condition creates.

Review your medications

If you have more than one chronic condition, you’re likely taking numerous medications. The typical 75-year-old takes more than 10 prescription drugs. The more drugs you take, the greater the chance that something can go wrong, something we discuss in this post. Be sure you’re talking with all of your medical providers about what drugs you’re taking – that health challenge you’re having could simply be an adverse reaction to a drug – or combination of drugs – you’re taking.

Keep a positive attitude

We can’t always control what happens in our life, but we always have control over how we react to adversity. The American Heart Association found that heart disease patients who had positive attitudes exercised more and had a 42 percent less chance of dying. By following the tips above and keeping a positive attitude about life, your life can remain vibrant, active and purposeful, even as you age. 

Categories: Aging Well