You know the word cholesterol - you’ve heard it before and probably know a little bit about it. Odds are you probably know someone with high cholesterol who is taking a statin drug, like Lipitor, to help lower cholesterol. And when you hear the word cholesterol or read it in this sentence, my guess is you immediately have a negative connotation with the word. Cholesterol=bad. Something to manage, avoid, or lower. But cholesterol is actually a very necessary part of your bodily functions and kind of a cool reminder of the beautiful, complicated organism that is your body.
From the moment you are born you start aging - it is an evitable part of life but often times gets a bad wrap...and rightfully so. Lots of things begin to change as we age: energy, metabolism, hormones, our immune system, our bone and muscle strength, our memory and overall cognition, and our ability to move. Yay for aging! While we can’t control aging, there are some things we can control like how we age and how soon the changes start to kick in (and how drastic they are).
With infectious disease no longer a major threat to morbidity and mortality, today Americans are dying at a shockingly high rate from preventable causes. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than two-thirds of Americans die from chronic diseases, like heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases. Most chronic diseases are highly preventable, with many being some of the most preventable health problems facing our country. In fact, in 2009, the CDC called chronic diseases the public health challenge of the 21st century. Not only are we dying from chronic disease, but Americans, on average, are living up to 20% of our lives with a chronic illness. So while we may be living into our 70’s or 80’s, the first onset of preventable chronic illness is setting in, on average, when people are in their late 40’s to early 60’s.