Every year as many as one million Americans develop sepsis—a life-threatening medical condition that arises when the body initiates a powerful immune response against an infection. All types of infection can lead to sepsis—from an infected scrape, to pneumonia, to an infection at a surgical incision site, and no matter what the origin, sepsis can lead to death.
While the study of the science behind aging is not new, it has only recently become organized and recognized enough to warrant its own name—geroscience. Geroscience is a field that aims to understand the relationship between aging and age-related disease. Geroscientists and their supporters believe that this relationship is the key to finding new ways to prevent, slow, and cure the diseases that disproportionately impact us as we grow older. Scientists now generally agree that aging—and the disease and dysfunction that comes with it—is changeable and capable of being slowed.
More than 133 million Americans live with a chronic condition like diabetes or heart disease. As the population ages, that number is expected to climb to 171 million by 2030. Advanced age is the single greatest risk factor for many chronic conditions. However, the illness, suffering, and premature death caused by chronic diseases are often accelerated by risk factors that can be prevented like a lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, and tobacco use.
As the chronic disease epidemic in the U.S. worsens, we need laws that will give Congress the information it needs to understand the true value of passing prevention-focused legislation. Preventing or delaying the start of new chronic disease cases, and slowing the progress of existing cases, will not only improve the health of many Americans but will also reduce healthcare costs.
Since the discovery of antibiotics, the leading causes of death in the United States have shifted from infectious diseases to chronic, non-contagious diseases. Unfortunately, because of low rates of adult vaccination and the increase of resistance to antibiotics, infectious diseases and fatal infections are on the rise in America’s older population. Despite their tremendous potential for prevention, vaccination rates in seniors fall far short of targets set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.