Local Leaders: Dr David Sutherland - Longevity versus our local lifestyle

Braidwood rates pretty well in the longevity stakes compared to other rural shires in Australia, so – regardless of the complex reasons why we might live longer here – we must be doing something right.

We do have a higher incidence of some conditions, physical traumas including sporting injuries, allergic diseases such as asthma, animal borne Illness such as Q fever and other viruses, farm and motor vehicle accidents etc; but in spite of our great distance from some medical resources, we still do well in the mortality stakes

Dr David Sutherland.

Dr David Sutherland.

With the major illnesses, cardiovascular and cancers for instance, we have seen a greatly improved survival rate and lower overall incidence of many diseases in these groups. A good level of physical activity, access to good food, fresh air, the support of the community environment... all in plentiful supply in Braidwood and must surely play some part in achieving these better outcomes. 

The lifestyle barriers to better health have, however, changed in recent times. We are now in a time where mental health issues, drugs and alcohol, life and work stress (both physical and emotional) are more significant. We have faced the old issues and have had major successes and now we need to identify the new and those most relevant to us and act on the changes needed. Once again they involve choices and challenges for us all.

This is the first of monthly medical columns and in columns to come, we will talk more about some of these medical priorities for Braidwood.