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Thinking Of Your Health Span

Most people are familiar with the term "lifespan." This is, roughly, how many years you can expect to live barring an accident. In America the current average lifespan sits right around 76 years. In 2019 the average was close to 79 years, then Covid hit. There are some researcher that feel Covid only accelerated an already declining lifespan. Cancer, Covid-19, overdoses, and the most potent killer, heart disease are all striking earlier, reducing our life span. (https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/what-doctors-wish-patients-knew-about-falling-us-life-expectancy#:~:text=But%20in%202020%2C%20life%20expectancy,the%20ongoing%20drug%2Doverdose%20epidemic.)


During the pandemic we heard the terms "high risk" patients. These are people already suffering from disease, diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure to name a few. These individuals generally experienced the worst of the disease and have developed significant lingering symptoms. I have treated quite a few individuals suffering from post-covid syndrome, and each is quite interestingly unique. It is clear post-covid will continue to drastically affect our lifespan.


Health span, on the other hand, is our ability to live a healthy life. Some consider it to be the amount of time we spend free of chronic disease and free of the disability of aging.


Aging is a normal process and shouldn't be feared. We should embrace it and continue to be as functional as possible. There is an estimate, that is growing that we will suffer on average 10 years of disability (Buettner D, Skemp S. Blue Zones: Lessons From the World's Longest Lived. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2016 Jul 7;10(5):318-321. doi: 10.1177/1559827616637066. PMID: 30202288; PMCID: PMC6125071..) This means we usually run out of the good times around 64 if our lifespan in 74. How can we improve our healthspan? This is often difficult in most communities in America. Most of our towns, cities, or even states are not set up to positively influence health. There are, however, some nice examples called "Blue Zones."





Blue Zones are areas around the globe that have similar characteristics in life style resulting in a much greater lifespan, and more importantly a much longer healthspan. There are 9 areas they generally share and according to the research done on these areas are referred to as the 'Power 9."


These areas hit every aspect of life. Nutrition, movement, spirtuality, and social interactions. A lot of these are what I teach to help individuals with chronic pain, so its never too late to start. I highly recommend taking time to see how individuals in the Blue Zones live and consider how you can change your own life style and maybe change somethings in your community.


This https://slate.com/business/2023/01/real-estate-walkable-home-prices-rent-smart-growth-america-report.html#:~:text=Paying%20More%20to%20Drive%20Less&text=What%20does%20it%20cost%20to,pay%20a%2041%20percent%20premium. article demonstrate people are willing to pay much more money for a walkable neighborhood with things like fresh fruit and vegetables on demand. This is the ultimate goal for my vision of my community. This should be the vision for anyone who practices preventative health. I hope you start thinking about how to live well, not just how long you will.


Good reading,


Rob

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