I was spectacularly healthy until, about 5 years ago, I started needing to take a couple of tiny tablets every day. A pretty minor inconvenience, and I'm still in excellent health, but it is sobering to think that even a hundred years ago I would have just ground to a halt and eventually died, possibly after attempting to eat large quantities of iodine-rich seaweed if I'd had particulalry enlightened (but ultimately futile) medical advice.
ive had dengue, which was kept manageable by drugs. plenty still die from the full deal.
have also spent a lot of time in malarial places, often using prophalactics, so only god knows if ive ever been bitten.
In reply to Cú Chullain: I had a hernia as a kid (born with) so I don't know how I'd have faired if it wasn't repaired, plus I've had the full spectrum of Vaccinations available in the 60's. so I won't die from smallpox (I think I was the last cohort to be vaccinated?)or polio, but I've had measles, mumps (I think) and rubella and didn't die. luck of the dice, but the dice were rather more heavily loaded against us 300 years ago
In reply to Cú Chullain: Bar contracting any nasty illnesses of the time I think I'd still be fine. Never had any major illness or problems that have required medical care. Birth as far as I know was trouble free so I should still alive and kicking.
I was born naturally although my mum spent a few weeks in hospital with high blood pressure before I was born (although she didn't have any treatment, it was in 1967). Since then, I had my tonsils taken out at age 3, although it wasn't life threatening. Other than a couple of tooth extractions, medical treatment has been limited to dressing and antibiotics for a nasty cut when I went half way through my thumb with a circular saw, which wouldn't have been around 300 years ago. So all in all, I'd probably still be here.
In reply to Cú Chullain:
If it had been 10 years earlier let alone 300 I wouldn't I was 2 months premature and weighed 2 bags of sugar (not sure what size bags though) and according to my father (who says he loves me) I looked like a drowned rat!
> ....would you have survived to your current age without modern medicine? Or would you have died much earlier?
Don't know how I was born but let's assume I'd have gotten away with it. After that I've not had anything especially serious in today's world but I've had a couple of doses of antibiotics over the years that I can remember. Childhood pneumonia may well have done for me at about 14.
In reply to Cú Chullain:
I've been lucky in that I've not needed modern medecine much beyond setting a broken arm - I'm sure the painkillers & anaesthetic helped though. However I reckon I would have died off by now with something infectious without cheap soap, hygiene, clean water, sewage treatement, rubbish collection and maybe immunisation.
In reply to Cú Chullain: Only a very small percentage of the improvement in mortality rates has arisen since the advent of modern medicine - most is because of public health measures like clean water, safe food, good housing, improvements in workplace safety etc.
In reply to Cú Chullain: Type 1 diabetic (insulin), my wife has an old medical book (1892) the chapter on diabetes ends cheerfully with "death follows" if not numerous climbing accidents would have left me crippled and acute appendicitis would have finished me off!
Dead as a door nail. Appendix removed in my twenties and a heart attack in my fifties. Both my kids (one forceps, one Caesarian) would be dead along with their mother presumably too. Apart from that we're all keeping very well, thanks
How many people survived to get cancer 300 years ago, that's the question - personally my guess is it probably had relatively little impact for a very long time, then its impact on mortality spiked within the past entury or so (guessing!) as improvements in health meant more people survived for long enough to die of that rather than other causes, and now its coming back down again in terms of its impact on mortality rates.
Given the massively high infant mortality and the high risks of childbirth itself anything which makes childbirth less risky (as you say, surgery would have been a nono!) and lets kids get through the first few years would probably have been key to a good chunk of the improvement.
In reply to blurty: For sure. But we also don't see things because vaccinations work... which is why we see peaks and troughs.. vaccinations work.. people think they aren't needed.. they stop.. the diseases become more apparent, vaccinations increase and so on....
In reply to blurty: All I'm saying is technologically we have made huge huge strides in medicine. Its incredible what we can do. Look at HIV/Aids in our lifetime.. 15 years ago it was a death sentence. Now you can live a much more normal life and a much much longer life expectancy.
In reply to Cú Chullain: I was born at my grandmas house and am very lucky to have been very fit and healthy all my life. the only thing I have had is a DVT a few years ago, so probably that would have killed me and I take warfarin daily for the rest of my life. but then again, the DVT, so the doctor says, was caused by the pill, and 300 years ago I wouldn't have been taking that, so I probably wouldn't have had the DVT in the first place!
In reply to Cú Chullain: I think I wouldn't have survived. I was born between 4 and 6 weeks early, I was the only baby to come out of the premature baby unit alive according to my dad, and have been type 1 diabetic for the past 6 years.
In reply to Cú Chullain: Nothing that I have had would have killed me, but I'm a 31 year old woman, so 300 years ago I guess i would have had many many children, and the chances of me dying giving birth to so many of them would have been high. Fortunately, modern contraception means that it's not something i need to worry about!
> (In reply to Cú Chullain) Average lifespan was around 35-40 years....
> So anyone over 40 will probably have been a gonna...
> But thats average and high childhood mortalities, plus constant high mortality skew that, so it was possible to live to old age.
Doesn't this figure take in child deaths as well, i.e. lifespan of everyone who was born?
I thought that if you got past childhood your chances of living to a reasonable age weren't that bad.
ps. I think I'd still be alive. As far as I know medicine has never saved my life.
You can't base it on what you've had or not had now in this lifetime in ths era of medicine, this era of clean water and sanitation etc. if you look at life expectancy from 300 years ago that'll give you a probability that applies to all of us.
We have a family tree and some papers dating back to the tudor period with some accuracy and most of the blokes tended to live longer than average so I would guess I would have fared about as well as they did. The few women we know anything about suffered a fair few miscarriages but relatively few infant deaths which seems to be at the more unusual end of the scale. Oddly enough the lifespan for the men in the family decreases significantly in the modern era, possibly because we no longer go farming or hunting and usually end up dying in a car crash on the way to work.
I was born in a 1980s maternity unit but relatively uneventful home births run in the family (Granny had five of her eight kids home) so I may just about have scraped through that bit.
Family history has shown that about that time we were farmers or blacksmiths so a very tough life but minimal chance of being sent down a mine or similar, and probably a slightly more varied diet. We would have been in rural areas so I'm guessing the lower population density would reduce the chance of picking up any nasty diseases. Probably a better chance than many people!