Monday, May 11, 2015

Many Aging Boomers Face Chronic Illness, But Death Rate is Falling

A new study finds mixed results for the health of American’s aging “Baby Boom” generation, with nearly half of people ages 55 to 64 taking a prescription heart drug and about 1 in 5 dealing with diabetes.

However, the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also finds that the overall death rate in this age group has gone down over the past decade.

The new data comes from an annual report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, looking at 2014 statistics on the health of all Americans.

That looming epidemic of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic health woes doesn’t bode well for the financial health of the U.S. health care system, the report noted, since most Boomers will be covered by the government-run Medicare program within the next 10 years.

The bottom-line forecast, according to Dr. Ronald Tamler, who directs the Mount Sinai Clinical Diabetes Institute in New York City, is an aging population increasingly plagued by chronic illness. That means doctors “have our work in primary prevention cut out for us,” he said, “especially in the less affluent segment of the population.
Another doctor agreed.

“With a shift from treatment to prevention, where the key is lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise, we could essentially change these statistics,” said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“This study should be used to empower a generation to see the importance in how they take care of themselves and how they choose to live,” she said.

My Take:
The dichotomy between how health care is preached and how it is practiced in the U.S. never ceases to amaze me. Drs. Tamler and Steinbaum talk as if they have a practice like mine – guiding patients to healthier lifestyle choices and supporting them with natural supplements. However, the treatment of diabetes and heart disease is nothing more than managing these diseases with an ever sicker population.

The financial dilemma is even worse. We have the most expensive health care system in the world that does the worse job in the world. However, our economy is dependent on this broken system. If we really did practice preventative health care, the hospitals would go broke. If we don’t start practicing preventative health care our economy will eventually collapse under the ever increasing costs of providing care that keeps us alive but not healthy.

The Bottom Line:
You must be proactive and practice preventative health care despite the health care system that pays lip service to the concept, but ridicules the actual practice.

Source: May 6, 2015 National Institutes of Health

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