Good Health: A Personal and Social Responsibility
Guest post by Bonnie S. Muheim, a health care consultant and freelance writer based in Washington, DC.
One hundred years ago, people rarely saw doctors when they were ill. Available medicines often did not do much to alleviate infection and disease, and treatments to reduce pain and suffering were few. Life spans reflected these limitations.
Fast forward to today. We have a broad network of medical specialists and subspecialists who deal with the entire spectrum of medical conditions, illnesses and diseases. Scientific research has given us multiple categories of medicines and, within each category, numerous medications that can moderate, arrest and often cure illness and disease. Happily, our life spans reflect the evolution of knowledge and the development of innovative and effective medicines.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we are witnessing an unprecedented growth of older adults and, by 2050, there will be double the number of people age 65 or older in the United States that we had in 2010. The growth can be attributed to baby boomers reaching senior status and the fact that Americans are simply living longer. Where once our ancestors got sick and perished, nowadays our serious illnesses often can be managed with proper prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Many acute or deadly illnesses, such as AIDS and some cancers, have become chronic illnesses. Other potentially fatal conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, are now manageable with medication and close medical supervision.
The good news, too, is that while older Americans are living longer, they also are leading more independent, productive, and healthier lives. Many are putting off their retirement and a new focus on healthy living is encouraging seniors to remain active and engaged in their families, jobs and community. Read more.