According to seven papers published recently by the Lancet, people worldwide are living longer but sicker. Advances in medical science and drastic improvements in sanitation have decreased the amount of premature deaths and allowed people to live into old age—but at what cost?
The report is the first expansive, global look at life expectancy and health threats involving more than 480 researchers in 50 countries. Based on the data they gathered from surveys, censuses, and studies, the greatest global contributors to the health burden are chronic disease, injuries, mental health conditions, and joint and bone diseases. To give perspective, take a look at some of the eye-opening statistics presented in the report:
- In people aged 15-49, diabetes is a bigger killer in Africa than in Western Europe (8.8 deaths vs. 1 death per 100,000).
- Globally, heart disease and stroke remain the top killers.
- Lung cancer moved to the 5th cause of death globally, while other cancers including those of the stomach, liver, and colon are also in the top 20.
With about four out of five seniors affected by a chronic condition such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, decreased quality of life is not the only consequence—medical care is extremely costly. In the latest Trendwatch report from the American Hospital Association, Medicare costs are skyrocketing. “People with chronic disease are more likely to be hospitalized than those without, and the resources required for each episode of care are greater. This translates into higher spending overall,” states the report.
Adhering to a healthy lifestyle does not just add years to your life, but adds life to your years. In the end, your health is your choice. Choose wisely.