7 Most Common Health Conditions Among Baby Boomers

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Ashley Festa on September 5, 2020
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    The Baby boomer generation has more health risks than their parents.
    Baby boomers—people born from roughly 1945 to 1965—are now in their 50s to early 70s. As boomers age, the U.S. population continues getting older—about 20% of Americans will be 65 or older by 2030. And as they age, baby boomers are facing more chronic health problems, some of which are preventable diseases. This population is also living longer with advances in medicine. It’s important for baby boomers to see their doctor regularly for screenings, managing chronic health problems, and making sure asymptomatic diseases are discovered and treated.
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    1. Arthritis
    Osteoarthritis, but also other forms of arthritis, becomes more prevalent as people get older. Arthritis is a disease that causes joint pain, stiffness and degeneration, and it affects women more commonly than men. Some statistics show that in the next 10 years, nearly half of all baby boomers will suffer from some form of arthritis. Being overweight or obese contributes to strain on the joints, so to keep arthritis under control, be sure to maintain a healthy weight. Regular exercise can also help keep joints flexible.
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    2. Type 2 Diabetes
    About 25% of baby boomers are expected to have diabetes in the next decade. People tend to become less active as they get older, which contributes to baby boomers’ risk of developing type 2 diabetes—also known as adult-onset diabetes. Because type 2 diabetes often occurs simultaneously with obesity, it’s important to eat a healthy diet, keep your weight under control, and exercise regularly as a way to decrease your risk for diabetes.
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    3. Heart Disease
    Heart disease is linked to advancing age, meaning baby boomers are more likely to have heart diseases than younger generations. Not surprisingly, the oldest baby boomers, now in their mid-60s to early 70s, have the highest prevalence of cardiovascular disease, with more than 70% of both men and women suffering from the condition. The youngest baby boomers still have high rates of heart disease, with men being more likely to have it than women. The good news is the rate of heart disease has dropped in recent years, likely due in part to an increased number of Americans getting regular exercise and quitting smoking.
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    4. High Blood Pressure
    Like heart disease, high blood pressure is also more common among older people. Cardiovascular disease experts recently updated the guidelines for healthy blood pressure, lowering the threshold by 10 points (normal blood pressure is now considered less than 120/80 mmHg). That means more people have moved into the category of having high blood pressure, and baby boomers are most likely to have it. High blood pressure is an asymptomatic condition, but it contributes to life-threatening conditions like heart disease and stroke. That’s why it’s important to know your blood pressure and check it regularly. Experts recommend lifestyle modifications, such as healthy diet and regular exercise, rather than medication to control blood pressure if possible.
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    5. Cancer
    Cancer is most common among the elderly population, and as more baby boomers reach and age beyond the senior years, their risk of cancer increases. With advances in cancer detection and treatment, more people will be cured of cancer than have survived in the past. Especially if you’re at higher risk for cancer, be sure to complete the screenings your doctor recommends so you’ll have the best chance to catch the disease in its earliest stages.
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    6. Obesity
    Baby boomers have a higher risk of obesity than their parents’ generation. This is likely due to decreased levels of physical activity, which is far less than experts advise. People who are obese are at greater risk for disability due to chronic diseases obesity can cause, such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. To help keep weight under control, doctors recommend healthy lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, more fruits and veggies, and cutting back on fat and sugar.
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    7. Hepatitis C
    Baby boomers are about five times more likely to be infected with the hepatitis C virus than the rest of the U.S. population. They account for about 75% of people who are chronically infected with the disease. Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people in the baby boomer generation get a screening for hepatitis C. There’s no vaccine for hepatitis C, but some antiviral drugs are effective at curing the disease.
7 Most Common Health Conditions Among Baby Boomers

About The Author

Ashley Festa is a Greenville, S.C.-based freelance writer and editor who has been writing professionally for nearly two decades. In addition to Healthgrades, she also has written for Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, the University of Texas at Arlington School of Nursing and Health Innovation, and Fit Pregnancy magazine.
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 5
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