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Quality of Life: prevent your chronic diseases

Prevent your chronic diseases for a better future.  Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide.  The Cleveland Clinic reports that 80% of chronic diseases are driven by lifestyle factors and the World Health Organization reports that the mortality, morbidity and disability attributed to the major chronic diseases is expected to rise to 73% of all deaths and 60% of the global burden of disease by 2020.

The world health organization puts it this way:

“Four of the most prominent chronic diseases – cardiovascular diseases (CVD), cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and type 2 diabetes – are linked by common and preventable biological risk factors, notably high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and overweight, and by related major behavioural risk factors: unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use. Action to prevent these major chronic diseases should focus on controlling these and other key risk factors in a well-integrated manner.”  World Health Organization

Preventable chronic diseases

Preventable chronic diseases include: cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), type II diabetes, and stroke.

There are genetic predispositions for some chronic diseases and it’s necessary to work with your personal physician to determine the goals that are specific to you.  However, some men lean on the crutch that “it’s genetic” and let it get all out of hand.  Is it genetic or learned family behaviors?  Consider this, if you have a genetic pre-disposition it’s even more important to take an active role in minimizing your risk.

The CDC reports that in men 55 years and over 75% have one or more chronic disease and 42% have two or more and 16% have three or more chronic conditions.

A Call To Action

Men let’s get it done.  My objective at The Aging Man is to help men change their trajectory to live a better future.  Chronic disease will affect your ability to provide, perform, prepare, and protect.  Preventing chronic disease is one of The Aging Man’s big objectives.

To help us with keep track of where we are relative to risk categories of chronic disease, it’s not a bad idea to keep track of key performance indicators or KPI’s.  What gets measured gets done, right?  The KPI Score Card is an easy, practical tool that has research behind why we should bother measuring these.

Using KPI’s in fight against chronic diseases

(As an Amazon Affiliate, I receive a commission on purchases from clickable links. I only recommend products I’ve used and include links to purchase for your convenience.)

Blood Pressure

Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of death due to heart disease/heart attack and stroke. It also increases risk of aneurysm, kidney disease, metabolic syndrome, eye problems and vision loss, memory problems and dementia, and erectile dysfunction.

According to the American Heart Association 50% of men aged 45-54, 70% of men aged 55-64, and 77% of men aged 65-74 have high blood pressure! What’s even worse is that of the 50% – 77% of men our age that have high blood pressure only 50% of men have their blood pressure controlled.

Improving this KPI has proven benefits:

Longer life-span up to 9 percent or 6months to 3 yrs. JAMA Cardiology

Helps adults with type 2 diabetes to prevent or even reverse hardening of their arteries. NIH

Treating to 120, the risk of having a cardiovascular complication such as a heart attack or stroke was reduced by 25%, and the risk of death from all causes was reduced by 27%. NIH

The good news is that there are several actions you can take that are effective in reducing blood pressure so check out our previous article here.

The ease of measuring and the significance of the results make this the most important KPI for The Aging Man. If you don’t have one, get a blood pressure monitor now.

Target: 119/79 (Unless you are told otherwise by your physician)

Belly Circumference

Measuring waist circumference helps screen for possible health risks that come with overweight and obesity. If most of your fat is around your waist rather than at your hips, you’re at a higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. NIH

This measurement is not your waist size, check out our article to learn how to measure here.

Target: 35-40 in

Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI is a useful measure that is used to classify overweight and obesity and to estimate relative risk of disease compared to normal weight. NIH

The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers. NIH

Knowing your BMI and changing it are key to decreasing your chronic disease risk. Read our previous article on calculating BMI here.

Target: <24.9

Percent Body Fat

The American Council on Exercise considers body fat greater than 25% in a man indicates he is obese. Having too much fat, or being obese, puts men at higher risk for chronic disease. Therefore, percent body fat is an objective way to score your risk factor for chronic disease like heart disease and diabetes.

Percent body fat is a measure that tells you how much fat tissue you have in comparison to muscle, bones, ligaments, and tendons. This is one of those categories that age makes a slight difference.

-Age 40-49: under 26.7%,  under 20% is considered healthy

-Age 50-59: under 27.9%,  under 22.1% is considered healthy

-Age 60+: under 28.5%,  under 22.6% is considered healthy

Measure it, change it. The easiest way to measure is to purchase one of these monitors.

Target: 18-22% body fat

Push Ups

A 10 year study published in JAMA concluded that if a man can do 40 pushups he has a 96% lower risk of heart disease.  This study isn’t saying that push ups have a medicinal effect on heart disease, it is saying that push ups are a studied measure of fitness and strength that is correlated with reduced risk of heart disease.  This is an easy test to take and compare results over time. 

Target: 40 push-ups in a row

Doctor Defined

This one is optional. If, as a result of blood work, your doctor has identified a variable that is out of normal range then keep track of it and work to fix it.  Common examples include A1C if you are diabetic, cholesterol, triglycerides, or any other test result that can be changed with your lifestyle choices. Your doctor will give you your target to aim for.

The Aging Man KPI Tool

©The Aging Man

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