I am 60 now and I am finding that I and my contemporaries are talking a lot about what is going to happen to us when we are a bit older.
My mum is in a Seniors home and has been since she was in her early 70's! She was too infirm to live on her own and in fact so infirm that she could not walk or get dressed. It has been hell.
Most of my pals in our 60's have seen our own parents through the last 10 years of their lives. It has made bringing up kids look easy. It has been an emotional roller coaster and has cost us all a great deal in energy and money.
We all say "I don't want to end up like my Dad!" But what we doing about this? So let me offer up some information that has helped me a great deal.
The Red line is the average for men. So some do worse and some do better. On PEI the average death happens at 75 for men. OK - we all have to die. The point is what happens before we die.
Have a look at the scale on the right. At 65 the average PEI man has become helpless - unable to look after himself. He will rely on his wife if he has one or have to be put in a home. He faces 10 years of high care before we let him die.
Think about what this means for him, his family, and all of us on PEI.
It's worse, for to get to helpless he has gone through years of being seriously ill. For many on PEI this means having diabetes.
Now look at the black line. Quite a difference. Some men stop "aging" and continue active and healthy until they die quite quickly. This is why an 80 year old can live onto 105 in some cases without much reduction in physical and mental faculties.
The reality of aging is that it is not all down hill from 20 to the grave. For those that live a longer and healthy life - the process levels out at between 60 and 80. Did you know this? I didn't until recently. More later.
So what is going on? How do I get into the black line group?
Well first of all having good genes really helps. We all know families that have the gift of a long and active life.
But it's not all about the luck of the genes - we can all aspire to the black line!
To get on the Black Line, we have to pay attention to what we eat and how we live our lives. We have to make some major changes. In later posts I will tell you all I know about what these are. What I have learned though is not the new food fad of the month but from the scientists, who like Pasteur at the early days of Germ Theory, are finding the science behind the food and lifestyle pathways to Chronic Disease.
What is also clear now is that we have a crisis - look at this. Here is how Diabetes alone is affecting Islanders.
Type 2 Diabetes is a new epidemic. It is spreading like a forest fire all over the world. Places like India and China are being hit as hard as we are.
It drives a huge range of other health failures - such as heart disease, depression amputations etc. Worse it is being seen now in even 6 month old kids. BTW Don't tell me that this kid needs to take more exercise!
The "advice" is to eat better and take more exercise. Really the advice is that if you have this - you are a loser who has no control. Notice how little effect this advice is having? Not to say that eating differently and taking exercise is wrong. it is nit enough to restrict advice to this.
For the problem is not us as individuals but "US" as a society. It is not only about each of us having personal choices but how we are surrounded by a culture. What has happened to that Chinese boy is not his fault! Something about how he and his family lives is what is going on.
This shows the meta context.
Our health problems are a product of how we live. If you lived in London in 1855, your chance of living 10 years was small. Not because of you but because London had 3 million people and no access to clean water and no sewage system. Typhus was not your fault. Not seeing the larger environment was the problem. When finally they did, in 30 years London had 8 million people and a very low mortality rate compared to the 1850's.
What cured Typhus was not doctors but a vision for pubic health. Yes doctors could help later if you got cholera or typhus - but it was sewers and water systems that reduced the infection rate.
Modern Medicine can fix us very well for Trauma. It does a great job for infection. But it is helpless in the "fixing" of the epidemic of Chronic Disease that confronts us.
Diabetes, Hypertension and Heart Disease, Cancer, Attention Deficit, Depression are now endemic and all the numbers show that more and more of us are getting on or more of these. Diseases which by the way were very very rare for our ancestors and that are unknown in the few remaining Hunter Gatherer societies left.
What is going on? What is causing this? What will happen if we do nothing? What will happen when most people on PEI will be over the age of 65?
That is what I will be writing about a lot over the next year or so.
We have been convinced that fat is bad and we have since made a huge shift to grains. This is the result:
Obesity levels track the opposite.
We have surely got something wrong?
I am no scientist. But I do care a lot about the new as you my dear readers know. I have begun to discover the scientists who have the answers to this. It is early days. They are on the outside now - like all true revolutionaries. I hope that I can show you a very wide range of research - in layman's terms that can show you what the problems are and what you and I can do to help ourselves.
The vast power of the establishment is lined up against as it was when the effects of tobacco were first discovered.
My mission to is to share their work with you so that you can take back control of your health - give our poor kids a break and save our province from financial ruin.
Interested to know more?