Some time ago the University of Pittsburgh research Departments did a project on risk and life expectancy. It threw up some interesting facts, (if they were right), and I’d like to share some of their findings with you.
They measured “Loss of Life Expectancy,” (LLE), in days due to various situations and conditions. For example, if you live near a nuclear plant, you could lose 0.04 of a day over your lifetime. That amounts to 156 seconds. Many people are scared of flying and apparently each of us risks one full day of our lives less whether we fly or not. It’s another day gone too due to hurricanes and tornadoes. Peanut butter though is more risky. You could lose a possible 1.1 days if you spread that shit on your bread.
But birth control pills are five times more dangerous than flying and firearms are over twice as risky as birth control pills at eleven days less life. Then there is the morning coffee. Bet you didn’t know that two cups a day will shorten your life by 26 full days. Naturally occurring radon under your home could knock 35 days off your life. Mind you, on this scale, a simple fall can shorten your life by 39 days. Wow! That’s a month and a bit!
If you buy a small car rather than a midsize one for all the good environmental reasons you might do that, you could lose two months off your life compared to the ‘gas-guzzling owner’ of the bigger car. Air pollution alone is knocking 80 days on average off all of our lives. Booze accounts for a risk of losing 230 days out of your life so if you’re having a pint, be sure to savor it.
What they euphemistically refer to as “Sub-optimal medical care,” or a shit health service and greedy doctors, can account for 550 days less on this earth than the good Lord had planned for you. An obvious risky contender is cancer and if you have that, you are into two and a half years less. Well, It would, wouldn’t it? Cancer is the BIG killer after all, right?
Well, actually, here is where the research gets interesting. You see, topping the list is the simple condition of living in poverty. The National Anti-Poverty Strategy (NAPS) offers the following definition of poverty: “People are living in poverty, if their income and resources (material, cultural and social) are so inadequate as to preclude them from having a standard of living, which is regarded as acceptable by Irish society generally.” They acknowledge that many who are in employment are also suffering from poverty, and that is in a country such as Ireland, considered to be among the wealthiest Nations on earth. But if you are one of the suggested one-third of the Irish population living in poverty, then you will die over nine and a half years sooner than those around who are not poor. That staggers me!
And it is worse for us blokes than for the ladies. If you are a male, you will die seven and a half years sooner than the skirts around you the same age. If you have heart disease, (a condition I inherited in the DNA), then you gone over five and a half years earlier than everyone else. Being single rather than married will result in almost the same outcome as will being born black. Happily, when it comes to the risk of life expectancy, I’m not black.
But I am a male, technically not married, (but with all the responsibilities of it), I do have diagnosed heart disease, I smoked, which I forgot to say knocks a further six years off your life, given my social status and income I currently live in poverty apparently, so let’s tot up my risk. So that’s nine and a half years for being poor, seven and a half years for being a male, five and a half years for the dodgy ticker, and six and a half years because I liked a smoke. That is almost thirty years less than I should get in an normal average life.
Now, the life expectancy of a male in Ireland currently stands at 81.5 years. So taking my life’s risk estimate, I died at 50, almost twelve years ago.
I knew something was wrong!