(Check out the video at the bottom of this page if you’d like me to read this post to you.)
These days many woman I know say they feel attacked from all sides.
From unequal wages for the same work, to invasion of their medical privacy, women are feeling like they are asked to carry way too much of society’s burden without being given the care and respect they deserve.
Perhaps a woman’s employer does not believe in birth control.
Should she be forced to pay out of pocket to avoid an untimely pregnancy that could cripple her financially for the rest of her life?
One of the natural treatments for depression is to plan your family so it doesn’t cause financial ruin!
What if her wages are so low that she just can’t afford birth control?
Is it fair to enter her bedroom and put stress on her marriage?
That same employer maybe happy to cover her husbands Viagra so that he can maintain his manhood, but what will prevent the children that he can’t afford to feed?
Below is an article from The Atlantic.
It’s got some alarming information.
After you read it, let’s discuss why women’s mortality rates should concern you even if you do not live in the “red zone”.
U.S. Women Are Dying
Younger Than Their Mothers,
and No One Knows Why
While advancements in medicine and technology have prolonged life expectancy and decreased premature deaths overall, women in parts of the country have been left behind.
The Affordable Care Act took a major step toward implementation last Tuesday with the launch of the online insurance exchanges, limping across the finish line despite three years of Republican obstruction that culminated in this week’s 11th hour attempt to dismantle the law by shutting down the federal government.
It’s easy to forget, amid the hyper-partisan controversy, that the main purpose behind President Obama’s signature health-care reform law is not to curtail individual freedom or send senior citizens to death panels, but to give more Americans access to health insurance. Whether you think the Affordable Care Act is the right solution or a dangerous step toward tyranny, it’s hard to dispute that the U.S. health-care system is broken. More than 48 million people lack health insurance, and despite having the world’s highest levels of health-care spending per capita, the U.S. has some of the worst health outcomes among developed nations, lagging behind in key metrics like life expectancy, premature death rates, and death by treatable diseases, according to a July study in the Journal of the American Medicine Association.
For some Americans, the reality is far worse than the national statistics suggest. In particular, growing health disadvantages have disproportionately impacted women over the past three decades, especially those without a high-school diploma or who live in the South or West. In March, a study published by the University of Wisconsin researchers David Kindig and Erika Cheng found that in nearly half of U.S. counties, female mortality rates actually increased between 1992 and 2006, compared to just 3 percent of counties that saw male mortality increase over the same period.
“I was shocked, actually,” Kindig said. “So we went back and did the numbers again, and it came back the same. It’s overwhelming.”
Kindig’s findings were echoed in a July report from University of Washington researcher Chris Murray, which found that inequality in women’s health outcomes steadily increased between 1985 and 2010, with female life expectancy stagnating or declining in 45 percent of U.S. counties. Taken together, the two studies underscore a disturbing trend: While advancements in medicine and technology have prolonged U.S. life expectancy and decreased premature deaths overall, women in parts of the country have been left behind, and in some cases, they are dying younger than they were a generation before.
The worst part is no one knows why.
The Kindig study does note strong relationships between county mortality rates and several cultural and socioeconomic indicators. In particular, location appears to have an outsized effect on mortality rates. Counties with rising female mortality rates, marked in red, paint a broad stroke across Appalachia and the Cotton Belt, moving across to the Ozarks and the Great Plains. The Northeast and the Southwest, on the other hand, have been largely untouched.
But it’s not clear how these geographical differences play a role in mortality, or why the effect would be so much greater on women than on men. “Clearly something is going on,” Kindig said. “It could be cultural, political, or environmental, but the truth is we don’t really know the answer.”
Other researchers have pointed out the correlation between education rates and declining female health outcomes. The most shocking study, published in August 2012 by the journal Health Affairs, found that life expectancy for white female high-school dropouts has fallen dramatically over the past 18 years. These women are now expected to die five years earlier than the generation before them—a radical decline that is virtually unheard of in the world of modern medicine. In fact, the only parallel is the spike in Russian male mortality after the fall of the Soviet Union, which has primarily been attributed to rising alcohol consumption and accidental death rates.
“It’s unprecedented in American history to see a drop in life expectancy of such magnitude over such a short time period,” said Jay Olshansky, the lead author of the study. “I don’t know why it happened so rapidly among this subgroup. Something is different for the lives of poor people today that is worse than it was before.”
Education alone does not explain why female high-school dropouts are so much worse off than they were two decades ago. But researchers have used it as a proxy to determine more significant socioeconomic indicators, like access to health care and income opportunities, as well as health behaviors like smoking and obesity. Smoking in particular appears to have had a significant impact on female mortality rates, as the health consequences of previous decades of tobacco use set in. Olshansky points out that female obesity and drug abuse have risen dramatically over the past two decades, and may also play a role in mortality rates.
Researchers are hopeful that the expansion of health-care coverage under the Affordable Care Act will help ameliorate some of the health risks for poor and uneducated women. But access to health insurance is only part of the puzzle—in fact, Kindig’s study found that medical care factors had no discernible impact on death rates at the county level. “Health care is far from the whole story,” Kindig told me. “More and more people are beginning to realize that the non-health-care factors are at least as important.”
In May, Jennifer Karas Montez, a social demographer who studies health inequalities, co-authored a study that was the first to investigate how quality of life might be playing a role in the early deaths of female high-school dropouts. Montez found that while smoking accounts for half of the decline in life expectancy among these women, whether or not a woman has a job is equally significant. “Women without a high-school degree have not made inroads in the labor force, especially in post-recession America,” Montez said in an interview. In fact, only one-third of women without a high-school diploma are employed, compared to half of their male counterparts, and nearly three-quarters of better-educated women. When they are employed, Montez said, it is usually in low-wage jobs that offer no benefits or flexibility. Smoking and other destructive behaviors, she added, may just be symptoms of the heightened stress and loneliness experienced by women who don’t graduate from high school.
“Life is different for women without a high-school degree than it was a few decades ago, and in most cases it’s a lot worse,” she said. “It’s really just a perfect storm.”
(Originally posted on TheAtlantic.com)
Now, why should you be concerned with rising mortality rates for women?
The Affordable Care Act has the conversation around lack of care in the forefront.
That’s a good thing.
Understanding why we pay a grossly inflated prices for health care was covered in a post I curated a while back. It makes no sense, but that is what has been done for many years in the US.
As you look at how things have changed, you are going to decide whether things are better OR worse for you.
Until you actually check out what has changed for you, you can’t even answer that question.
Just be aware that there is STILL no transparency in prices for supplies and services related to your health care. If you live in the US, you pay more for less, guaranteed.
We know that we have not made enough change with the Affordable Care Act!
Unless we keep pushing for change, that will not happen.
However, we can easily see that providing coverage for women who live below the poverty line would directly impact the mortality rate of those women.
Before you decide that these are women who made bad choices and are suffering the consequences of those choices … give some consideration to exactly…
WHO works for minimum wage?
The pie chart gives 48.5% of this poverty pie to adult women.
How many of those women are high school drop outs?
Only 25% of ALL the people working for minimum wage has less than a high school education.
The pie gives 41% to folks with college education. A good chunk with bachelor’s degrees!
Those are some pretty educated people working for poverty wages!
By far, a living wage is one of the MOST important natural treatments for depression!
Taking into consideration that you can avoid heart disease by belonging to a loving community of caring neighbors it’s pretty obvious why we should care that so many women are suffering. Despite their best efforts, they continue to suffer in a way that those who are well housed and fed can’t fathom.
Do we give a damn about the women who are dying younger than their mothers did in 45% of US counties?
Apparently not. Our community spirit is sorely lacking and it shows.
In this modern age of advanced medicine, women’s mortality rates are growing.
Do you realize how alarming that statement is?
What can you do?
Join the Life Breath Club’s Community and share this post with your friends and family.
To heal heart disease, we need to care.
Do you care?
Enter your contact information in the sidebar and come on into the membership area.
Carrie Tucker, RCP
“The Life Breath Coach”
Heart Failure Solutions
PS– Remember everyday:
- Relax and Release tension
- Exhale Slowly
- Be active in a way that adds Joy to your life
Plus pure water ~whole foods~sunshine~and laughter
PPS- I’ll read this post to you! Affordable Care Act conversation #1