There will always be disease

I wrote an article recently about some changes in which diseases are contributing to deaths in the developed world, which was taken from the recent WHO health statistics report. Of course, though, editor's have their own take and the article Increased health means more disease doesn't include all of the ideas I originally included. So I am providing it here, in all it's uncut glory (yes, I'm allowed to do that). There isn't anything wrong with the edited article...I just have more to say on the issue!

Better treatments and prevention for communicable diseases has increased life expectancy. This opens the door for diseases of age and nutrition.

The World Health Organization released the 2008 World Health Statistics recently, which included information on life expectancy in Europe. This region reflects the trends also seen in other developed nations, including the United States.

As recently as 50 years ago, life expectancy increases were heralded as communicable diseases succumbed to antibiotics, vaccines, a newly introduced public health infrastructure, and sewage control. The average child born in Europe at that time could expect to live 66 years; in 2005 it was almost 79 years.

However, in Eastern Europe there is a discrepancy, and the excess mortality is a result of cardiovascular disease and cancer! Disorders that usually develop with age, something only achieved when a population is healthy. Other contributors include injuries, which, as reported earlier this year, can include drug overdoses (poisoning).

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease has been a leading cause of death in the United States for at least the past 80 years. The estimated prevalence of heart attacks, an indicator of heart disease, for the country in 2005 was 4 percent. Colorado had a slightly lower prevalence of 2.8 percent among respondents to the telephone survey conducted by Council of American Survey and Research Organizations.

The good news is that most aging-associated and nutrition-associated (cholesterol and heart disease) disorders are preventable and easily treated or managed by diet and lifestyle changes.

The key point is that because we are living longer, we are dealing with new diseases, ones that can be prevented or managed more easily than microbes. Though, I admit, it is still a challenge.

I am of the mind that we are born to die. From the moment we are fully formed, we begin to age. Each organ going through the motions towards its demise and the body's death. We can cure every known communicable disease and still not be immortal. It's in the very fabric of what we are.

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