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Women shouldn’t ignore surprising health trend

Health officials were startled at the news: Life expectancy for white women is now 81.1 years – down from 81.2, joining white men in a similar decrease.

While it doesn’t seem like much, it is the first time life expectancy for white women dropped since 2008.

Researchers don’t know what caused this change. But they spotted some concerning trends among women in the last few years that could lead to a lower life expectancy: opioid abuse, suicide and chronic liver disease associated with alcohol abuse.

“While many men and women are doing the right things to stay healthy, such as getting annual screenings, exercising and getting blood sugar under control, those health issues in the report are troubling. Individuals who think they are addicted or depressed can get help from their doctor,” said Timothy Meneely, DO, medical director of Population Health at Carle.

Dr. Meneely encourages everyone who may be feeling depressed or abusing pain medication or alcohol to talk to their doctor.

“We know that some patients don’t disclose the depth of their health concerns. Doctors will treat your care in strictest confidence. There is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed,” Dr. Meneely said.

“In addition, your doctor can connect you to one of several community services that can assist you. Between your doctor and these options, you can find a path forward.

Your doctor is there to work with you.”