A disturbing analysis of mortality and morbidity was recently published in the Journal of Gerontology. Americans are living longer but sicker lives. We’re now living fewer healthy years. Compared to a decade ago, we live about a year longer, but come down with a serious disease like a stroke, cancer, or diabetes two years earlier. It’s like one step forward, two steps back.
The UCLA researchers also tracked one’s capacity to function—for example, the ability to walk up 10 steps or kneel without using special equipment—and found a similar trend. In just a decade’s time, we now live more years with a serious illness and more years disabled, meaning we’re living longer in sickness, not in health; a longer lifespan, but shorter healthspan.
The three leading causes of disability in the United States are arthritis, heart disease, and lower back pain, which all may be prevented, treated, and in some cases even reversed with a healthy plant-based diet. For arthritis, see my 3-min. video Diet & Rheumatoid Arthritis; for cardiac disability, my Care2 post Reversing Heart Disease; and for degenerative disc disease, my 1-min. video Cholesterol and Lower Back Pain.
Every part of the body needs sufficient blood to function properly. Cholesterol can clog arteries in our inner and outer organs, causing aneurisms, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, spinal degeneration and sexual dysfunction. In my Care2 blog Dietary Sexual Dysfunction I discuss what clogged pelvic arteries can do to the sexual functioning of both men and women. Eating healthily can extend one’s love life as well as the life of one’s love.
With Memorial Day picnics around the corner, today’s Care2 video pick is a NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day from last month (see above).
Note that although watermelon may help treat the symptoms of pelvic atherosclerosis, it’s better to get to the root of the problem and clear out the arterial plaque, just as Indian gooseberries may help treat diabetes (see Amla Versus Diabetes), but it’s better to reverse the disease (How To Treat Diabetes). See my 2-min. video Our Number One Killer Can Be Stopped and the 10 other videos on reversing chronic disease.
Michael Greger, M.D.
Image credit: Caro’s Lines / Flickr