North Americans are known to spend more on health care than almost any other developed nation in the world. When compared to the other industrialized countries, the life expectancy for males is 76.6 years old, and 81.7 for women.
Some found these statistics alarming, so health experts performed an extensive study on what the reasons were for these shorter life spans, and focused on the causes.
One of the main culprits was substance abuse such as excessive alcohol and eating fat laden foods which contributes to illness such as, lung disease, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
The broad conclusion may be a comedy in itself since it was determined that North Americans generally live shorter lives because of poor health.
Although it was also found that this nation will tend to drink or smoke less than the other countries in Europe and Asia, while the main causes were too much consumption of the “bad” calories, gun violence (US), and higher abuse of street drugs.
The Soaring Cost Of Health Care
Since the cost of health insurance and medical care are so high, the majority also can’t afford and thus get access to the best possible medical care that’s available.
Another factor is our heavy reliance on the automobile, resulting in walking, exercising, and biking less, which contributes to poorer health and obesity in older age.
Perhaps the biggest finding and contributor is the actual lack of communication with the elderly, as North American society is becoming more fractured, depending more on technical devices for communication.
What this leads to is lower incidences of direct and personal interaction that individuals once had. While the majority of us know and are guilty of this, there’s a correlation between our diminishing personal interaction with others, and the affect that it has on our overall state of health.
It’s All About Personal Interaction
A number of health experts who have applied extensive research in this area all claim that one of the most important indicators of seniors living longer, and having better health is the quality and consistency of their personal relationships.
It’s now known that being alone especially later in one’s life, which can result in chronic loneliness, now ranks as one of the biggest risk factors when determining one’s premature mortality.
So when looking at the different cultures around the world, the one’s which are known for their longevity, all have a strong invested degree of family connectives and cultivation, bonding stronger personal relationships.
To cite one of the traditionally longest living groups of individuals in the world, which is situated in Asia, for this particular culture, wealth isn’t measured in terms of how much money they have.
It’s found to be more about the quality and number of relationships that the person has in their inner circle of care, which helps them maintain their home and health when in times of need.
What this support group consists of is their extended family and relatives, which can also include a community of their friends which surrounds them.
Our Health Depends On Our Relationships
When it comes to the influence which relationships have on our overall quality of life and health, there’s no other known reason or factor.
A lack of having close loving relationships has more influence than, a poor diet, lack of exercise, excessive drug use, excessive smoking and alcohol, or poor genetics.
When it comes down to how long we live, or what the quality of our lives are as we age, relationships and caring will always trump incidences of illness, which prolongs our lives and livelihood.
Our Closest Support Systems
We knowing the presence of this available support system, the nourishing relationships which are in our lives, provides a cushion and security effect to the stress which we face once we feel isolated, overwhelmed, and disconnected from our loved ones.
What experiencing this type of stress releases are hormones such as epinephrin and cortisol, which are also referred to as adrenaline and noradrenaline.
What this social support does is it neutralizes the effect of the onslaught of stress, by lowering or producing less of these anxiety based chemicals, which are often referred to as the natural love hormones.
What love and the feeling of love does is it sets off a complete series of physiological events inside the body and the mind, killing less brain cells in the process.
What’s naturally released are peptides along with a suite of other hormones, which includes: dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, and nitric oxide. What they do is provide lower anxiety, while promoting better relaxation, and a positive physiology.
Developing these types of psycho and social supports are just as important as eating healthy, exercising, while avoiding other hazards. The “quality” time which is spent with our closest loved ones, such as our kids, grandchildren, spouse, our closest friends and relatives, gives us positive messages to our cells.
Having Healthy Relationships
So it becomes extremely important to acknowledge what the significance is when it comes to having healthy relationships as we age, and the effects that they have on our health and ultimate welfare.
So investing in our relationships, creating that bond and developing an understanding, or at the minimum creating an agreement with your children or parents for care, has proven to bring back the best returns on our standard of health and our overall well-being.
Beyond that, practically anything else that we do, such as ridding of or stopping our various bad vices, breaking unhealthy habits while cultivating healthy ones, can prolong our lives.
What’s more important however is not forgetting to place our family and friends, and our community on the top of the priority list.
Developing and then cultivating these quality relationships may take a bit of effort, energy and time, but there’s nothing else that we can do to devote our livelihood, which has proven to return a greater return on investment.