For some, living longer means needing to manage health problems for longer periods. While we know that maximizing the effectiveness of medical therapies will help minimize costly disease complications and improve the quality of life, it is concerning that adherence to many treatment regimens for chronic disease is suboptimal.
There are many studies in the medical literature that document this problem, such as a recent paper by Munter et al., in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension in 2011 where he found correlations between reduced adherence to blood pressure medicines and higer risk of stroke. Beyond hypertension many chronic health conditions in older age require daily medications to manage and the complexity of treating multiple problems with multiple medications cannot be overstated. Additionally, treatments that might have been used on a short term basis for certain cancers in the past may now be extended in the future to improve their therapeutic effects. Today, more often than not health care providers and their patients are just "managing" chronic disease, they are not "curing" it.
So until the day arrives where we can permanently fix chronic diseases in a single office visit what can be done to try and improve adherence to medical treatments? As societies age the costs associated with suboptimal care will increase due to the growing numbers of elderly individuals. What can those with chronic conditions do to improve their compliance with treatment? What can the health care system do to help in these efforts? Your thoughts?
Category: Funding longer lives: Health/medicine, Longevity risk