On 08 December 2016, it was published that in the first time in more than two decades, the life expectancy for Americans is on the decline despite having advanced treatments to help prolong lives. More disturbing, the major reasons for this projection is due to rising fatalities from heart disease and stroke, diabetes, and drug overdoses, all of which are mostly preventable and are stress induced. Additionally, the rise of mortality rates increased mainly with people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.
So, what has changed with our practices between now and two decades ago? One major culture influencer was the rise of the use of the internet. Don’t get me wrong, the internet is one of the greatest concepts ever implemented as it has facilitated the communication of individuals, streamlined business transactions, facilitates forecasting of the weather, and has facilitated with the growth of knowledge necessary to advance sciences; however, this necessary evil has also contributed to behavioral addictions and a decrease of physical activity, which can directly influence the rise of stress-induced mortality events.
Last year, it was reported that Americans work an average of 34.4 hours a week, which is longer than any other country in the world. In addition, the average full-time worker worked 47 hours per week and that nearly 40% of US workers log in over 50 hours a week on the job. It was also reported that Americans do not even take all the time they are given for holidays. This trend is suggesting that many of us are bringing work with us wherever we go as we all are addicted to being on top of everything that we do.
We need to wake up as Americans and take care of ourselves! I challenge all of us to take the time to talk to our trusted physicians on how to take care of ourselves better. The best way to capitalize on our medical advancements is to address medical disorders early on and not let them linger. On one hand, we need to embrace new technology and continue advancing as a society, but we also cannot quickly forget how our ancestors lived in a less information-saturated society. Let’s make 2017 the year that we all begin to form habits that are less stressful, while still embracing the powers of technology. Ultimately, if we are successful at balancing these variables, we shall see an uptick on not only the expected life expectancy but also the quality of years lived by an individual.
About the Author:
Shawn is the Director of Client Success at ePatientFinder. Prior to joining The Tribe in 2016, Shawn had nearly 10 years of experience working in the clinical trials industry as a clinical project manager and also served in roles that specialized in patient recruitment. Shawn is a believer in the ePatientFinder model and is excited about the potential the platform brings to help increase clinical trial awareness to the physicians and to their patients.