Whilst we all know that our lifestyles can affect our health and general wellbeing, there are many other factors that can lengthen or add risk of shortening our life expectancy. Diet and exercise, career choice, habits (both good and bad) are just some of day to day life choices that impact upon us.
Often however one of the most commonly overlooked aspects is where we actually live.
Benenden have recently launched a new online interactive tool allowing people across England and Wales to check which major conditions can affect them medically region by region. This tool allows users to understand the regional differences between the sexes as well as providing an insight in to potential risk to their own. It uses national averages based upon occurrences per 1000 people to determine how likely you are to develop potentially serious medical conditions based upon your gender and locality.
For example, when searching using our own postcode I discovered that Skin Cancer is the number 1 High Risk factor to health for females. When compared to an NE9 postcode in the North East it changes to Mesothelioma (a form of cancer most commonly associated with exposure to Asbestos). Another previously lived in of mine in Liverpool gives the greatest risk as being Cancer of the Liver. Sobering statistics indeed.
Another way to look at it is by percentages. Here’s another example: a woman living in Cheshire is 21% most likely to be at risk from Breast Cancer than a woman living in Cambridgeshire. A woman living in Cornwall is 14% less likely to suffer from heart disease than a woman living in Merseyside.
Out of 71 counties in England and Wales, Merseyside ranks 71st for risk of a medical condition in females with Liver Cancer topping the list. Truly alarming.
I’d like to point out that the tool itself does not take assumptions about an individual’s current lifestyle. Rather it is designed to provide a more informed view of their current approach to health and lifestyle as well as making people aware of higher risk medical conditions in their area. All of this is done using the national statistics gathered to build a picture of the risks across the 71 counties.
Where you live and not just how you live can be a real deciding factor when it comes to health. It is something people maybe should investigate a little before deciding upon where they move to, what to be wary of or how they can make improvements to their health.
I know I will personally be taking sun exposure a lot more seriously now that I'm aware of how a high risk it is for women living in this area of the country, compared to where I actually come from.
The Benenden ‘Risk by Region’ tool is available via www.benenden.co.uk/risk-by-region/ and it's well worth checking out should you wish to see the major health risks that are dominant where you live or may wish to live in the future.
You may be surprised by some of the risks you could be unknowingly exposed to.
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