The life span of the average American is longer than ever, but as we age we have a higher risk of developing a number of chronic diseases.
Americans are living longer...a lot longer. Most of us can expect to blow out the candles on our 76th birthday. In fact, if you make it to your 65th birthday in good health, you can realistically expect to see another 17.5 years. With health care reform, health maintenance organizations, and changes in Medicare, health and health care are evolving in new directions.
As our population ages, we are at an increased risk of developing a number of chronic diseases. The value of our personal health is of paramount importance, as more people realize they CAN have an impact on their own health. The three leading causes of death for both males and females in this country are, in order:
Every 33-seconds, someone in the U.S. dies from cardiovascular disease. The total numbers are staggering: One in 4 people have heart disease. Over 65 million people in the U.S. have cardiovascular disease. Ninety-six million people have high cholesterol (over 200 mg/dl).
There are more than 8 million cancer patients in the U.S., with 1.4 million new cases diagnosed every year.Breast cancer is the leading cancer killer in women aged 40-54. Women aged 60-69 have higher death rates from respiratory and digestive cancer than from breast cancer. The main cancer killers among males are lung cancer and prostate cancer.
Stroke and arthritis are the number one cause of disability in this country.
Arthritis More than 40 million Americans suffer from arthritis. More than 22 million people take over-the-counter pain relievers for arthritis. One in every 8 Americans has Osteoarthritis. As the population ages, these figures will go higher. By the age of 65, people have a 50/50 chance of developing arthritis.
The National Center for Health Statistics says that over the past 10 years, overweight adults increased from 8% to 37% of the population. Two out of every 5 women and 1 out of 4 men are trying to lose weight. Fifty-eight million Americans are seriously overweight. 60-80% of the U.S. population is overweight.
There are 16 million Americans who have diabetes. 5.4 million of these cases are undiagnosed. There are two main types of diabetes. There are about 800,000 cases of Type I, or "Insulin Dependent," diabetes, and there are about 9.5 million cases diagnosed as Type II, or "Adult Onset," diabetes. Type II diabetes can often be controlled by careful diet and exercise. Diabetes is the 6th leading cause of deaths in the U.S.
About 70 million Americans suffer from digestive disorders. 118 million people have "acid reflux" disorder. Four million Americans have stomach ulcers. It is expected that by the year 2005, 35% of all adults aged 50-64 will be affected by some form of gastrointestinal disorder.
As the incidence of these ailments increase, so does the cost of health care. Illness also takes a tremendous personal toll. One-third of the people over the age of 65 feel their health status is "poor." Almost 40% of the elderly population is affected by a disability. The cost of health care in this country was 1.1 TRILLION dollars in 1997 and is expected to double by 2007. The average health care cost is currently $4,000 per person per year, or approximately 18 cents out of every dollar earned. This does not even take into account the resulting millions of hours of lost productivity.
As Baby Boomers age, they are embracing major changes in health care, with PREVENTION of disease as a priority. They desire more control over their health care and actively seek out safe alternatives to expensive prescription drugs. In fact, 40% of the population now uses some form of Complementary Alternative Medicine. More than 65% of Americans use multivitamins and more than 30% use herbal products.
The desire for safe alternatives has led to the creation of a new industry of scientifically prepared "nutraceuticals." A nutraceutical is defined as a product derived from fruits, vegetables, or plants, which is safe and non-toxic and has beneficial medicinal purposes. The demand for these safe and effective products is expected to explode over the next several years.