Trending News Today: United States Sees Minimal Gains in Life Expectancy

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Because of stress associated with the recent presidential election, mental health professionals have established an unofficially named diagnosis called Post-Election Stress Disorder, according to Kaiser Health News. Therapists across the nation have reported an influx of patients coming in with anxiety and depression related to, or worsened by, the daily news on the Trump administration. In the past, it was uncommon for patients to spend their sessions talking about politics, but times have changed with the daily barrage of issues and buzzwords such as fake news, alternative facts, repeal and replace, contested confirmations, protests and suits over travel bans, and suspicions of Russian influence, along with the departures of the acting attorney general and the new national security advisor, KHN reported. Many patients have reported difficulty sleeping, anxiety, loss in sex drive, issues with staying focused at work, and are fighting more with family members. An online survey that included 1019 adults and was conducted by the American Psychological Association after the inauguration, revealed that 57% of Americans reported that the current political climate is a very or somewhat significant source of stress, and 40% say the same about the outcome of the election. The reported stress is not just Democrats, in fact, a quarter of Republicans reported the outcome of the election as a significant source of stress for them, KHN reported.

Some men have reported that low testosterone levels are having a negative effect on their overall wellbeing. Because of this, some physicians will prescribe testosterone replacements, but the efficacy of these prescriptions have varied. According to NPR, 5 new studies that are collectively called the Testosterone Trials (TTrials), which compared the testosterone gen AndroGel against a placebo, are unlikely to provide any clarity. The results of the study showed that overall, men who used a testosterone gel to raise their levels to those seen in younger men, saw improvements in bone density and bone strength. Additionally, men with unexplained anemia also saw improvements to iron levels in the blood. However, men who used the gel who reported memory problems at the start of the study did not experience any improvements in memory or cognition. Furthermore, there is concern over signs of an increase in the risk of cardiovascular problems, NPR reported. As of now, investigators warn that determining whether or not to take testosterone should be a decision made between older men and their physicians, and that overall health and medical history should be considered while weighing the risks and benefits.

A new analysis reveals that the United States will see minimal gains in life expectancy at birth, and will soon put life spans on par with those in the Czech Republic and Mexico, according to The Washington Post. The extensive study projects that South Korean women and Hungarian men are projected to make the largest overall gains­­---with South Koreans second among males. Furthermore, South Korean women are now projected to live to an average age of 90 by 2030, making it the first population to break the 90-year barrier. The study predicts that the United States will only gain a couple of years of life expectancy between 2010 and 2030, with life spans remaining in the early 80s for women and late 70s for men. Overall, the investigators project a life expectancy of 83.3 years for women and 79.5 years for men in 2030, which is up from 81.2 for women and 76.5 for men in 2010. The reasons for this lag in the United States is well known, with the nation having the highest infant and maternal mortality rates of any of the countries in the study, as well as the highest obesity rate, according to the Post. Furthermore, it is the only country without universal health insurance coverage.The United States has the largest share of unmet health care needs due to financial costs, the study reports. The United States was also the first high-income country to see a halt to the pattern of increasing height in adulthood, which is a reliable indicator of improving public health. The US government reported in December that the life expectancy had declined in 2015 for the first time since 1993, as a result of the risk in death rates from the 8 of 10 leading causes of death.

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