May 04, 2006

Health Concerns

In the last few weeks there's been a raft of serious health concerns turning up in my social circles among relatively young persons - we're talking about life-threatening conditions, as well as quality-of-life threatening ones. And I have to say it seems a bit ominous.

It doesn't seem to me as though it was so common for my parents, when they were my age, to have so many friends with tumors and expiring organs. I'm fairly certain that it wasn't so common for them to know so many people in their teens and twenties with such issues.

My mother began commenting on this well over a decade ago, when I and my friends and peers started having babies. Nearly everyone we knew had problems with their pregnancies and/or deliveries. Cancer, gestational diabetes, seriously premature labor, multiple miscarriages, anemia, hypertension, preeclampsia... and infant heart problems, lung problems, blood problems, immunity problems, growth problems, hormone problems, pituitary problems...

Let's not even get into the growing number of young children who are being diagnosed with, and often medicated for, what seems an exponentially growing multitude of neurological and behavioral disorders. It's too depressing.

Mom marvels that so many people are having these troubles. Her friends hadn't been similarly troubled during their pregnancies. Their babies nearly universally were just fine when they were born. Of course, the ones that weren't just fine probably weren't talked about as openly, but my mother is a sociable and sympathetic woman and her friends are close to her - when they have problems, my mom usually knows about them.

The discouraging thing for me is that I and my friends seem to be sharing the same types of health problems - and at nearly the same rate - with our parents, even though our parents are 20-30 years older than we are. Problems that used to be associated with advancing age are showing up at alarmingly rising rates among a younger and younger set of folks.

I'd love to report that 'healthy living' will protect people from experiencing these problems, but in the past week alone I've learned that several of the healthiest-living people I know have been diagnosed with various horrific cancers and heart problems - no amount of dark leafies and avoidance of hormones and antibiotics, no amount of excercise, no adherence to holistic practices seems to have been proof against this terrible tide of dis-ease. We are none of us safe... not even the youngest of us.

Finding cures is great. I'm all for it. But clearly we're doing something wrong. Isn't it at least as important to ferret out the sources of this tide as it is to discover the cures? Even if the answers to our questions turn out to be inconvenient and uncomfortable to hear?

Where should we start looking?

Stuff of the Day: So You Want To Fake A Foreign Accent...


Anonymous Amy said...

Tell me about it. In the last year, I've seen a young nonsmoking friend develop stage 3 lung cancer, a 13 year old boy develop leukemia, and now my 35 year old friend just was diagnosed with ovarian cancer--and she's an exercising nonsmoking vegan. It really is scary out there.

5:33 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Tragically, prevention gets short shrift because it isn't as lucrative as treating illness. Plus, the great chemistry experiment we're all trapped in (all the things in the air and the water and the food) isn't perceived as dangerous by the majority, nor does it make sense with our current economic system to correct...


6:10 AM  
Blogger Carrie K said...

Prevention is a good thing, but there's also got to be a percentage of people that simply wouldn't have survived this long in order to get what they have now. If that makes sense. The birthrate is much higher now than it's ever been, we're able to do so much more during pregancy and in childhood to ensure survival.

Either that, or we've managed to pollute the heck out of everything and it's killing us.

9:26 PM  
Blogger mrspao said...

My husband's grandmother has said the same thing to us many times as we are alway catching minor illnesses. I do think it has a lot to do with pollution and chemicals as they probably didn't have all of that when Grandma was younger.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

role overload syndrome.

10:19 PM  

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