I am learning a mile-a-minute reading the best-seller, How Not To Die. It's a boatload of info on the top 15 serious health concerns that are taking our lives (or minds, or quality of life) too early in developed countries. It is an amazingly large resource. Only reputable scientific research studies are discussed. OR he makes it clear if he mentions a new one that is interesting but needs more research. The citations at the back go on and on. (and on) He's meticulous.
There are eye-opening studies that prove other countries simply don't have people dying of the things we have people die from. Did ya'll know that in China and Africa, in areas where large populations can be studied eating their historic diets still, with high daily fiber and very moderate to low sodium, there is just no high blood pressure? Bp gradually reduces there after a person's 40s - reduces without any negative health effect. So a gradual lowering is the probable normal bp progression for humans. But almost everyone in developed countries believes that harmful higher bp just happens with aging, and can't be helped. Without higher bp, whole categories of causes of death just don't happen.
Also it is a shock to me to learn that people in developed countries are not exactly living longer the way we think. From 1998 to 2006 we in the US, for instance, gained a year of life expectancy, BUT we lost 2 years of expectancy of functional ability. That means that the year we gained, plus another year, became part of the time we can't expect to do things like sit for 2 hours without lying down, or stand unaided. So it's like 1 step forward, 2 steps back. And if we continue with the current rise in disease rates, life expectancy will plateau soon and today's youth will live fewer years than we will.
I had no idea medical anthropologists identify several major eras of human disease by what people died of during that time. They start with the "Age of Pestilence and Famine". Guess what our age is called? "The Age of Degenerative and Man-Made Diseases". Ugh.
Did I get everyone's spirits up? Sorry! There is a lot of good advice, too, though.