Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Wisdom Wednesday: U.S. Life Expectancy Down, Overdose and Suicide Rates Up

U.S. life expectancy at birth has declined for the second year in a row, from 78.7 years in 2015 to 78.6 years in 2016, according to the latest CDC data.

Notable increases were observed in drug overdose deaths and suicides. The overdose rate nearly doubled from 2006 to 2016, hitting 19.8 deaths per 100,000. Meanwhile, suicide rates rose steadily among adults aged 25–44 years, reaching 16.9 deaths per 100,000 — higher than the heart disease death rate. Among those aged 15–24 years, suicide became the second leading cause of death in 2016, and among children aged 1–14 years, the rate reached 0.8 per 100,000.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a statement, "These sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable. ... we must all work together to reverse this trend and help ensure that all Americans live longer and healthier lives."

My Take:
In 2016, the top 10 leading causes of death were heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide. Metabolic syndrome, a preventable condition is a direct cause in half of the top causes of death.

Today’s national news reported that only 12% of all adults in the United States are healthy. They defined health as free from any aspects of metabolic syndrome without the use of medication.

So are you a member of the 12%? If you take any medication daily (i.e. low-dose aspirin) you are not considered healthy. The average American adult takes four prescription medications daily.

High blood pressure (even if controlled by meds), poor glucose control (pre-diabetes or diabetes), over weight/obesity, or high serum lipids all disqualify you from being considered healthy.

Most of my new patients consider themselves to be in good general health and yet few of them are truly healthy. Many consider the various medications, both OTC and prescription, as creating health. In reality, while they may create the illusion of health, long term they create kidney disease, one of the top 10 killers in our country.

Bottom Line:
Please go back and read Monday’s blog on exercise. It’s all about healthy eating and exercise. Pick a “diet” from the long list of healthy programs that fits your lifestyle. Mediterranean seems to work best for me, but Paleo, Keto, plant-based and many others also work well. Start now, before any New Year’s resolution and by the middle of January, you will have developed some healthy habits. Please join me as an elite American, the healthy 12%.

Source: November 30, 2018 New England Journal of Medicine

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