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Elderly people will suffer at least four diseases

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 today.

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.

Lead author Professor Carol Jagger from Newcastle University, 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 NHS.’

The number of people aged 85 or over is expected to double in the next 20 years. 

People in their 60s are set to suffer at least four diseases by the time they reach 80 (stock)

NOT SMOKING, MAINTAINING A HEALTHY WEIGHT AND DRINKING IN MODERATION COULD ADD UP TO 12 YEARS TO YOUR LIFE

Not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and drinking in moderation could add up to 12 years to your life, research revealed in July last year.

While women who follow a healthy lifestyle can expect to have an extra dozen years, men can extend their life by 11, a study found.

On its own, drinking alcohol in moderation adds seven years to your life. These additional years are also free of disability, the research adds.

Never smoking and not being obese gives you an extra four-to-five disability-free years, the study found.

Study author Mikko Myrskylä from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, said: ‘A moderately healthy lifestyle is enough to get the benefits. 

‘Avoiding becoming obese, not smoking, and consuming alcohol moderately is not an unrealistic goal.’ 

How the research was carried out 

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. 

‘Multi-morbidity will contribute to crises in the NHS’

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. 

Professor 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.’ 

The findings were published in the journal Age and Ageing. 



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