Avoiding Non-fatal Disease

More health problems come from non-fatal diseases than from fatal ones. Prevention of these problems is critical o your ability to live as well and as long as you can. You probably noticed that even potentially fatal diseases (like atherosclerosis) cause most of their problems by non-fatal complications such as angina, pectoris, non-fatal heart attacks, non-fatal strokes, intermittent claudication, and congestive heart failure. Accident cause many more sever and lasting disabilities than they do deaths.

There are many additional disease conditions that are seldom, if ever, fatal but that cause immense pain and suffering. For example, osteoarthritis and related syndromes cause nearly one-half of the physical symptoms reported by older individuals. Little attention has been paid to prevention of these diseases. Yet, prevention is possible to nearly the same degree as with the fatal diseases. Secondary prevention of these conditions, after symptoms have begun, is often more difficult, preventive measure won’t always work completely, but the markedly improve your predicted chances. They will nearly always help to some extent. By working to prevent problems from these conditions, you can strikingly improve symptom levels and the quality of life.

Hearing Loss

The delicate hearing apparatus in the middle ear (and the eardrum itself) becomes stiffer with age, causing gradual loss of hearing in almost all individuals, with loss of high-tone hearing occurring before loss of lower tone hearing. Loss of hearing obviously makes communication makes more difficult. Equally important, hearing loss decreases the input that you need to make your memory and thinking work well. Many problems that are written of as “senility” turn out only to be problems with hearing loss.


There is no known way to prevent the occurrence of hearing loss (although once in a while the problem is only wax buildup in the ear canals). However, hearing aids and devices, which restore hearing to essentially normal levels, are readily available. Your task is to be sensitive to any loss of hearing and to take up the corrective measures early. Otherwise, a whole series of unnecessary problems of communication and apparent loss of intellect can result, and the quality of your life will be less than it should be.