Life expectancy is a key indicator of a nation’s health and well-being. However, despite having similar resources to other developed countries, life expectancy has seen a concerning decline in America. Most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals U.S. life expectancy has declined to 76.4 years, the shortest in nearly two decades.
When compared with other high-income countries, the United States falls short. Premature deaths have reached historically high rates, and the U.S. has among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates among its counterparts.
Physicians and public health experts have identified chronic stress as not just a significant contributing factor to this life expectancy crisis but also a societal epidemic.
“Burnout is at a crisis level, made worse by COVID-19,” says sleep medicine specialist Indira Gurubhagavatula, MD, MPH, quoted by MedPageToday.
Approximately 50% of healthcare professionals were already experiencing some form of burnout syndrome before the pandemic, which only worsened their professional and personal wellbeing. Per the Surgeon General Advisory issued on May 23, 2022, there is an urgent need to address the healthcare worker burnout crisis sweeping across the country. This is not only to support those currently struggling but also to prepare for the projected shortage of 3 million low-wage healthcare workers in the next five years. Continue reading →
April marks the beginning of Stress Awareness Month. This national observance aims to raise public awareness of the far-reaching, systemic consequences of chronic stress on physical and mental health.
While stress is a natural part of life, chronic stress and severe stress levels can have significant adverse effects when not managed effectively. In individuals with pre-existing genetic vulnerabilities to mental illness, high stress levels can actually trigger mental illness. Severe stress can greatly worsen symptoms for those who already have mental illness, especially when combined with common unhealthy coping strategies such as substance abuse, social withdrawal, and overworking.
Learning and implementing healthful coping skills is essential for supporting patients’ whole-body health. To successfully help manage stress year-round, it is essential to educate patients about wellness-focused coping methods that not only mitigate stress levels but also promote improved health.