My birthday was this weekend and whilst I don’t normally think about my mortality, this year I’ve been through some interesting times. Also, somehow the proximity of Halloween and all things ghoulish makes me think of these things....
Doing the kind of medicine I do makes one think of mortality as well. One of the terminologies for my kind of a practice is ‘age management’. So whilst there is no promise of being able to extend one’s lifespan, there certainly is the promise of being able to extend one’s healthspan!
The choices out there for us these days are narrowed down quite a bit. In the past, infection and the elements were of concern. These days, you have a choice of:
diabetes and its complications
autoimmune diseases and their slow, painful, torturous road ahead
the BIG C
degenerative disease and their painfully slow demise eg dementia, alcohol related
If you’re lucky, a quick fatal accident or quick anything!
Not a great choice to be fair. Although its doesn’t make good dinner conversation, if you really think about those around you and ask yourself this question, it does bring some interesting answers.
I tried looking for some answers especially for some people or races that are known for their health. Of particular interest was how indigenous tribes or those unexposed to western foods died. I found some very interesting facts. Apparently, most of them live a healthy and vital life right to the end, spend a few days complaining of extreme fatigue and take to bed, then pass away. What a wonderful way to go! Two very prolific people in the controversial health ‘scene’ are Atkins and very recently, Dr Mary Enig (researcher and writer of many books on fat- google her on wikipedia and amazon). Dr Enig passed away last month at the age of 83 of a stroke. Some may consider her death to be a little ‘early’ for such a strong advocate of ‘eat fat for a good life’. However her life was relevant and vital right to the end. Isn’t that what its about? More importantly, seeing as she ate so much fat, shouldn’t she have gone much, much sooner and be riddled with all kinds of nasties?
The way I see it, I choose to be vital and active right to the end. I’m not sure when that will be but I really don’t want to inconvenience loved ones and have them care for me because I cannot do it myself. I think its important that we take charge of our own health and destiny as there is so much we can all do to ensure good health and spirits right to the end.
The take away here is that I would love for my readers to think a little about mortality; and actually believe that they have a say in what happens rather than simply assuming “its a sure road to dementia/diabetes/etc”.
Because, you know what? You can actually make a difference to your healthspan. Quite a big one!