The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issue an annual report on the state of health in the United States. The 33rd edition just came out and has some surprising findings, especially about the use of procedures, tests and medical technology. The life expectancy in the United States is now 77.9 years. Are you over that age? Congratulations, you beat the odds.
Mortality from heart disease, stroke and cancer continue to decline but the leading cause of death for people age 65 and older is still heart disease. The leading cause of death for people age 1-44 is unintentional injuries. I think that includes war, which always takes the young men.
Here are some findings that show how hard it will be to rein in health care costs:
- The use of MRI, CT and PET imaging soared, especially in physician offices and outpatient departments.
- Knee replacement surgery for people age 45 and older rose 70% in the last decade. Partial hip replacements increased by 60%
- Drug-eluting stents were used in 75% of angioplasties. Everyone who has angioplasty seems to get a stent nowdays.
- Assisted reproduction doubled during the past decade, especially on women over age 40.
- The use of diabetes drugs for people age 45 and older increased by 50% and statins soared 10-fold.
- Out -patient upper endoscopies rose by 90% and colonoscopies tripled.
If you think about it, lifestyle changes can really impact our lives and our health. Eating healthy, exercising, relaxing, meditating, doing yoga or other fun activities have been proven over and over to be the antidote to modern illness. Stop the wars and put that money into education, school lunches and fun physical education. I know it is utopia but I'd like to see this report in the future if we could accomplish that.