US projected to have lowest longevity among high-income countries
Critics of conventional medicine point to the U.S. life expectancy decline as a wake-up call.
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that the overall death rate of Americans has increased for the first time in more than a decade. Compared to 2014 data, the American death rate was 1.2-percent higher in 2015. Heart disease and cancer remain the two most prolific killers. Chronic lower respiratory disease, unintentional injuries, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide round off the remaining top 10 most common reasons for death in America.
The death rate rose from 724.6 per 100,000 people in 2014 to 733.1 in 2015, which was the first time the life expectancy rate fell in the United States since the AIDS epidemic in 1993.
“The decline in life expectancy, although slight, is significant,” says Dr. Terry Grossman of the Grossman Wellness Center, a Colorado-based medical center focused on longevity. “[The drop] represents a reversal in the increases that have been occurring for many years. Worsening in outcomes for eight of the 10 leading causes of death makes these results even more disturbing.”
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) as far back as 2002 reported that despite technological advances, the U.S. sucks when it comes to health:
“A medical system that allows physicians to refocus on the patient-centered, personal, and unique experience of ‘illness’ is an imperative for our time.”
Lower Life Expectancy: A Moronic Convergence
America’s health meltdown has a litany of villains including rushed doctors, Big Pharma’s pill-pushing profit motive, food manufacturers’ focus on flavor over nutrition, and the public’s apathy toward exercise and proper diet. Health care has hit the skids at the same time; people are sicker than ever.
In 2013, the Global Burden Of Disease Study, a massive investigation on the propagation of chronic disease, revealed for the first time that up to 95 percent of the population is sick from a spectrum of chronic conditions, some apparent, some not, but overall progressing for the worst. This is unexampled in human history and has taken place only in the last 80 years.
“The irony is that the more we advance in research treatment for common diseases, life expectancy decreases,” says naturopathic practitioner Dr. Kac Young. “I see in my patients an increased level of laziness toward their health maintenance and an increase in the ‘fix me syndrome.’”
Young says Big Pharma’s incessant advertising contributes mightily to this “take a pill and all is healed” mentality.
True health stems from balanced nutrition, exercise, and a positive outlook. Bad health results from the immediate gratification indulgence of unhealthy foods, a sedentary lifestyle, and ignoring personal responsibility for our physical bodies.
The Changing Nutritional Landscape
Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the real nutritional value of today’s food supply is just 2 percent of what it was about a century ago. Since food production has become an industry, soil erosion, processing methods, and commercialization have turned our supply of nutrients into “food products.” These items are engineered for taste at the cost of genuine nutrition.
Food products that populate grocery stores are low in nutrition, high in sugar content, and loaded with more than 80,000 industrial chemicals, including pesticides and industrial preservatives. These additives tax our biochemistry and threaten our life expectancy.
The chronic lack of nutrients, increase in environmental toxins, and other stress factors have depleted our well-being and increased our toxic body burden.
The Shift Away From Conventional Medicine
It’s not like there aren’t choices. Preventative medicine with its emphasis on whole body/mind health is practiced by holistic doctors, naturopaths, and even some conventional medicine doctors if you can find them.
However, critics of conventional Western medicine believe totally new approaches are necessary. One of those radical approaches is Functional Medicine, which focuses on the underlying causes of health problems through careful history taking, physical examination, and laboratory testing. Patients are at the center of this modality and spend a lot of time talking because a major component of Functional Medicine is exploring detailed personal and family history as well as the circumstances around initial symptoms.
Another one of those new modalities is metabolomics, an innovative branch of medicine that takes the guesswork out of diagnosis and is the leading definitive test for helping pinpointing autoimmune and chronic diseases through blood and urine samples.
“Instead of thinking disease, we would be well advised to focus on staying healthy,” says Young.
She points to Chinese medicine where Chinese doctors are paid to keep their patients healthy. When the patient gets sick, the doctor takes no payment. Says Young:
“What a reversal of focus this would be if we thought about and worked to increase our vibrancy instead of our aches and pains. We would live longer and have more energetic and enjoyable lives.”