The plight of births begins. Americans are aging and that means more demands on the health care system. NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – The number of visits by doctors and hospitals has risen by 20 percent in the past five years, a trend that is likely to continue, a new study by the US Centers for Disease Control found.
The study revealed that Americans paid 2.5 billion visits to healthcare providers in 2005. This is about 10 visits per person if you assume that every person in the country is visiting – which you know is not true. This means that someone will go to the doctor a lot. What do they do? Antidepressants mostly – 118 million records, followed by heart meds and painkillers.
There is always a side effect
These data pairs with another new study suggest that antidepressants are associated with loss of bone density when older people are asking for problems. Evidence has emerged that the most common category of antidepressants can contribute to fragile bones in the elderly.
This class of drugs works by changing how your brain uses serotonin, a highly regulated hormone. But serotonin is used in many other parts of the body as well, including the digestive system, cardiovascular system and bone metabolism – hence, side effects. It now seems that one of these side effects is low bone density and increased risk of osteoporosis or bone fracture.
It is not too late to start
However, in the midst of all this torment and darkness there is light – if we decide to use it. Another study found that middle-aged adults who adopt a healthy lifestyle can “catch up” with healthy people on average for four years. The researchers found that adults who started eating five servings of fruits and vegetables, getting 2.5 hours per week of exercise, maintaining their weight in a healthy group, and abstaining from smoking, reduced their chances of developing heart disease and death for healthy people.
The downside is that most people decide not to take advantage of their ability to recover and choose to stay on the slippery slope. Of the 16,000 Americans enrolled in the study, only 8.5% were already doing what was needed to maintain their health and another 8.4% chose habits six years after the start of the study. Those that reaped the benefits of reduced heart attacks and morbidity. Those that did, well. . .
Look for an accountability partner
That does not mean we do not know what to do, but we do not. I encourage everyone to find a partner for accountability and a realistic health goal. Look for someone you can be honest with and help you keep your course when you get stuck. We are likely to stay on track when we know that someone will ask us about our efforts. Hold with someone else for daily doses of fruits and vegetables, get 30 minutes of daily exercise and get close to healthy weight.
The problem is that it is no longer just a choice to live healthy or not. The whole healthcare system is tense and about to collapse. When the boom generation goes into old age, it will be stressed. We must educate and motivate people to work, literally.
When John F. Kennedy: “Do not ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” probably was not thinking about taking a tour around the block. But now, more than 45 years after this famous speech, getting health is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself and your country.
Do you want to be nationally? Eat an apple and go for a walk.