Frailty (P366D11)

Every so often, I hear or read about the average life expectancy in the U.S. increasing.  Sometimes, it’s an increase of a few years.  I’m not even sure what the average life expectancy of males and females in the U.S. currently is, and that’s not really my point here.  My point in bringing up life expectancy was simply to mention that it keeps increasing, due to better drugs, better treatments for disease/chronic illnesses and conditions, earlier detection of problems/potential problems, and the list goes on.

But, I have to wonder, are we necessarily living more healthy lives or are we limping along, addicted to our life extending drugs.  Personally, I think we’re squarely in the latter situation.  Of course, I’m not a doctor, nurse, other medical specialist, or even a highly paid researcher.

When I was growing up, we didn’t know anyone who had a nut allergy, let alone an allergy severe enough that they had to carry an “EpiPen” around with them and know what all the ingredients are of any food they might consume at a friend’s house, external activity, or school lunchroom.  It seems to me that I can name three to five friends’ kids who are allergic to one thing or another, at least one severely.  What’s causing this increase?  I don’t know.  I suppose it’s possible the numbers haven’t increased, we just hear about it more.

I have a couple theories (that I’ll have to just wait for someone else to get paid to research and confirm or refute) about how we are weakening our bodies, though.  The first is a lack of getting outside…especially as kids, but also as adults.  Growing up, we didn’t have Wii and computers and the Internet, hundreds of TV channels, etc.  You’ve heard this all before.  We went outside in the fresh or not-so-fresh air (depending on where you lived) and played when it wasn’t raining, and sometimes even when it was raining.  We got exercise and were exposed to lots of germs and allergens.  Our bodies had to learn to fight stuff off…which leads to my second theory:  We have become an over anti-bacterialized nation.  Everything we buy now is anti-bacterial.  From dish soap, to hand soap, to hand lotion, and anti-bacterial hand sanitizer that doesn’t require water…just squirt, rub, and go.   Our household cleaners are also anti-bacterial, but that’s where it needs to be.  We need them to kill the germs when we’re cleaning our counter tops, sinks, toilet bowls, and tubs, among other things.  The problem is (here’s the theory) that by over-using the anti-bacterial stuff all the time, our bodies no longer have to learn to fight off germs so when we get exposed to/invaded by them, our bodies don’t know how to cope, giving the germs a better than usual chance to beat us down…which leads to the doc and more of those meds I mentioned earlier.

Soooo…even if my theories aren’t spot on, getting outside and exercising more certainly can’t hurt.

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