You may or may not think of yourself as someone who focuses a lot on health. For sure, if we start to feel ill we’ll know about it and usually, do something. But there are those of us who do more to stop ourselves getting ill. Regardless of whether we fall into the “reactive” or “proactive” groups, one thing is for sure. We are living in a time where more is known about health than ever before.
Now, in light of that, do you think that we are more likely in this day and age to get ill, or less? The actual answer to that question is of course not as cut and dried as we’d like. Some illnesses are less common than they were. Others are more common, and then there are some that may always have been around but are more often diagnosed.
As an aside, we know that some historical figures had symptoms of mental illnesses that were not recognized as such. Beethoven, for example, almost certainly had a form of Bipolar Disorder. It seems likely that Abraham Lincoln suffered from clinical depression. Michelangelo, a man of huge talent but almost no social skills, was in all likelihood on the extreme end of the Autism spectrum.
Then there are other illnesses that have certainly been around for awhile, for which treatments exist, yet are still on the rise. Some may not be any more common than they were but have not reduced as much as we would like.
After all, we know what causes them – so why are they still happening? In some cases, including with various cancers, it may have to do with lifestyle products we use.
Diabetes on the Rise – But Why?
The first thing to note is that there are two types of diabetes. Helpfully, they are named Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is caused, by and large, by genetic and environmental factors and is difficult to prevent for that reason. Type 2, however, is the form that is on the rise. The reasons behind its rise seem to stem from a change in society and diet.
As the main forces behind Type 2 diabetes include obesity and a sedentary, mechanized lifestyle, it’s clear why it’s on the increase. More and more jobs are sedentary in nature. Processed food is more widely available (and relied on more due to a loss of spare time). Avoiding the condition is dependent on changes in diet and exercise plans. If you already have it, you can lessen its hold with the same approach.
At the same time, it is essential to manage the condition medically as well. Treatments include metformin tablets for diabetes – the purpose of which is to control blood sugar levels. For Type 1, the importance of regular insulin injections is paramount.
Cancer: Good News and Bad News
Alarming headlines come around from time to time about a rise in cancer rates – and the naked statistics bear the headlines out. However, if we adjust for an aging population worldwide, the picture is not as gloomy. Life expectancy is on the up, which is important when analyzing the seriousness of a problem.
For one thing, the rising age of the global population means that despite a rise in new cases, fewer people are dying from the illness. Secondly, because there are more people living longer, there will be an increase in cases. Our bodies fail us all, eventually, and cancer is just another way of that happening.
However, we also need to be aware that there are new causes and act on that knowledge. For example, the use of certain kinds of plastic can expose us to chemicals that may cause cancer. Also, illnesses such as HPV and Hepatitis can increase the likelihood of some cancers. The rise in cases of these illnesses – in some cases due to lifestyle – means an increased risk.
Autism on the Rise or Just Increased Awareness?
The chances are that you know someone with an autism spectrum disorder. If not, someone you know probably does. Some people have pointed to an increase in cases of these conditions as a sign that lifestyle factors are causing them. The truth is, there is no evidence whatsoever that anything we are doing is causing the increase.
The most obvious explanation is that autism spectrum disorders are understood better than ever before. As they are better understood, they are more easily diagnosed. Any “rise” in the number of cases is more likely a rise in diagnosis than anything else. After all, the main sign of such conditions is in most cases social awkwardness. Things which, let’s be honest, we used to simply attribute to personality.