Life Expectancy

I met a young person yesterday. He is working in remote villages in India. His aim is to educate people on health. His efforts begin at prevention. This involves teaching people the value of a good lifestyle, eating healthy and regular exercise. If its already too late, detecting disease early by testing. If your disease is advanced they help guide you on the best medical care available. Simple intervention by non-medical people with adequate knowledge can help.

Globally, life expectancy has increased from ~ 35 at the beginning of the last century to 71.4 in 2015. This is an amazing improvement globally. Surprisingly, this has been accompanied by an decrease in the quality of health of those alive. Noncommunicable diseases were responsible for 68% of all deaths globally in 2012, up from 60% in 2000. The primary non-communicable diseases are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung diseases [1].In India, the top three reasons for a lower life expectancy are diarrhoea, cancer and cardio-vascular diseases. Obesity is up and so is the absolute number of people detected with diabetes and cardio-vascular diseases. This is a change from a hundred years ago when  people died of communicable diseases or infections.

Experts say we are living longer because of improved availability of medical care, improvement in medical technology and drugs. However, we are increasingly falling sick due to an unhealthy lifestyle. When this happens, medical care is able to help us live longer. From high quality stents to radiation therapies we are able to beat back and reverse many ailments.

Prevention is clearly a better choice. Especially when dealing with noncommunicable diseases. Here is the important takeaway. If you haven’t already, get yourself tested. Look for signs that your body is giving. If tests indicate you have a problem, its not too late. Lifestyle changes, intermittent fasting, diet and exercise can significantly impact your life expectancy. If you do, we may not even need Kurzweil’s prediction that we will live to be 200 due to advancement in science.