Through the wonders of science and technology, researchers have significantly extended human longevity. Such developments, however, has also led to the unfortunate abuse of particular innovations.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the expected lifespan of Americans has surged from about 76 to 78.8 years of age. The CDC notes that the findings primarily result from improvements in treating and educating the population on obesity and the leading cause of death in the U.S., heart disease. While these severe illnesses are on the decline, the CDC also found a surge in drug overdoses and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
A Food Issue
Liberty Nation reported that 90% of males, 80% of females, and 50% of children in the United States may have excess fat, which has substantially increased instances of NAFLD and, in effect, liver cirrhosis.
The NAFLD pandemic should come as no surprise, however, as 75% of food purchases in the nation are from high-calorie convenient products, such as chips and cookies, as explained by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The CDC also reports that the rate of drug deaths has more than tripled in recent years, hindering average longevity by nearly three months. According to LN, the country’s aggressive rise in drug-related mortalities primarily stems from the current opium epidemic. Earlier this year, the DOJ pursued the most massive health care fraud crackdown in history. They charged 115 doctors for prescribing opiates and narcotics when medically unnecessary and uncovered $1.3 billion in false insurance claims.
Furthermore, fatalities resulting from recreational opiates, such as heroin, have also experienced dramatic growths, including among adolescents.
The rise in NAFLD and medicinal overdoses uncovered by the CDC has caused officials to weight the pros and cons of societal advancements. Although high-calorie foods have proven beneficial for their low prices and convenience, they are often consumed in excess, leading to the corrosion of physical health.
Likewise, although the pharmaceutical industry has saved millions of lives through vaccines, antibiotics, and other products, many items are frequently abused due to their addictive qualities.
The CDC’s announcement is met with high praise, as it not only displays the merits of the tireless efforts of researchers, but the millions of lives saved as a result. However, the advances have also led to struggles, as exemplified via the opioid epidemic and NAFLD pandemic. The new and improved life expectancy is welcome news, but, as seems always to be the case, this silver lining hides a dark cloud.