Most people know what lifespan is—the average length of life of a species, often measured within a sub-population like “Americans” or “women.” Essentially—how long we live. But few have even heard of healthspan. Dictionary.com defines it as the “period of one’s life during which one is generally healthy and free from serious disease.” Essentially—how long we live in good health.
An estimated 2.3 million Americans are living with glaucoma and because it is a disease of aging, that number is expected to climb during this decade—surpassing 3.3 million by 2020—a 50% increase. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that are associated with elevated eye pressure that can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss. That vision loss can usually be prevented with early detection and proper treatment and disease management, yet glaucoma continues to be one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S.
This is because many of the glaucoma cases go undiagnosed and because diagnosed cases too often go untreated.
Last summer, lawmakers were not just feeling the heat of the August sun in Washington when Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011(BCA). Under pressure to raise the country’s debt ceiling, the BCA allowed the president to do so by up to $2.8 trillion, but only by requiring the deficit to be slashed by $2.3 trillion over the next decade. Not a bad trade, right? Think again. The methods used to make these cuts could take a fat slice out of the federal budget that pays for research to prevent diseases we all fear as we grow older like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and heart disease.
Exercise is good for your health. Not surprising right? We’ve all watched countless news reports and read stacks of stories extolling the virtues of regular exercise. So why do only 30% of adults between the ages of 45 and 64 report that they engage in regular physical activity? That number gets even lower as we age with only 25% of people between the ages of 65 and 74, and 11% of those ages 85 and older, saying that they exercise regularly. Keep in mind that those numbers are probably higher than reality because people tend to over-estimate how much they exercise when they are reporting it to others.