A little over a century ago, hospitalizations were dominated by infectious diseases.
Diseases like tuberculosis, influenza, and enteritis made up 60% of disease that people died from in 1900. The average life expectancy was 49 years old.
With the rise of antibiotics and other medical advances in this past century, these diseases are more manageable and people are living much longer. And by achieving the ability to live into our 70s and beyond, the primary cause of hospitalization is now attributed to what the medical community calls lifestyle diseases.
So in other words, by increasing the amount of life lived, we have also increased the probability of our natural processes malfunctioning or breaking down in our body. Poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and other impeding lifestyle choices can all contribute to it. And the longer we live, the more opportunity for these choices to increase our odds of the diseases influenced by them.
As much as we’d like to think about extending our lifespan, in reality, the odds of living a life of quality diminishes over time.
Many people attribute the probability of their health, good or bad, to their genetics. That is in fact, true.
But what people don’t consider is that in many cases, that probability isn’t hard-coded to some single, concrete outcome. It’s a range of possibilities, a range of health outcomes that is dependent on what you do.
As you age, genetics dictates the range of what health actions may unfold, but this range adapts to your environment and what you put into your body. This is why what you do now – what you choose to eat and the lifestyle you surround yourself – is so important.
Beyond probability, the only certainty in life is death, and the journey that leads us there should be as good as it can be.