Thursday, July 11, 2013

Americans will have longer periods of disability at end of life

The Wall Street Journal has an important story Thursday, July 11, 2013 by Ron Winslow, “Longer, not healthier lives: Americans see gains in longevity, but are spending more years with disabilities”, p. A3.

The story is based on a new study in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.  
This is the worst possible news for adult children who are likely to wind up as caregivers, particularly as states like Pennsylvania) may show more interest in enforcing their filial responsibility laws.  In a culture that values human life at all costs, many ethical issues about “personal responsibility” and the importance of marriage turn on their heads.   
The biggest increase in disability is likely to come from Alzheimer’s disease. 

Obesity is cited as a reason for disability, but it is complex/  Weight does not always cause earlier death or heart disease.  But it is correlated to income.  Obesity and Type 2 diabetes seems to be increasing with poverty, and seems less common in educated and upper income families.  I’ve noticed something else, too.  Generally, gay men are a little less likely than usual to be or become obese.  

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