The teeth of privately insured older U.S. residents are getting better, but those insureds’ high blood pressure and diabetes rates appear to be getting worse.
Researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics today published data supporting those conclusions in the latest review of health survey data based on interviews with U.S. adults ages 55 and older that were conducted from 2004 to 2007. The NCHS conducted a similar series of interviews from 2000 to 2003.
Only 22.9% of all of the 36,984 older adults who participated in the 2003-2007 survey said they were in fair or poor health, down from 23.2% when the NCHS conducted the 2000-2003 survey.
But the overall fair-or-poor health rate improved mainly for adults ages 75 and older. The percentages of adults ages 55 to 74 who reported being in fair or poor health were about the same in 2004-2007 as in 2000-2003, according to the NCHS data.
When researchers interviewed adults ages 85 and older who had some kind of private health coverage, with or without Medicare, they found that the percentage who reported being in fair or poor health had dropped to 29%, from 29.8%, and that the percentage who had lost all of their natural teeth had dropped to 32%, from 34.9%.
But the percentage of “old old” U.S. residents with hypertension increased to 56.2%, from 52.3%, and the percentage with diabetes increased to 12.9%, from 9.9%.