Not long after the end of WW2, my grandfather developed an eye condition called glaucoma. As a consequence, he was almost completely blind by the time he reached the age I am now. Thirty years later, his daughter (my mother) developed the same illness and she, too, lost her sight - as did two of her siblings.
When she was diagnosed, my mother was advised to urge me to get my eyes tested.
At that time, I was in my forties (apparently, that's when glaucoma manifests itself) and I was already suffering from the early stages of the condition. By then, however (in the 1980s), medication which controls the effects of the disease was becoming available and, since then, daily eye-drops and regular visits to opthamologists have allowed me to enjoy the benefits of 'normal' sight.
Another condition which has affected me is what is nowadays known as asthma. Inherited from my father, a 'bad chest' has plagued me for most of my life. As a child, I had pneumonia, pleurisy, and bronchitis quite frequently and by the time I reached my fifties, there were a couple of years when I was off work for anything up to three months at a time. Mercifully, steroid-based inhalers seem to have resolved the problem; however, I'm acutely aware of tightening of the 'tubes' if I fail to take my daily 'dose'.
Over the years, in addition to the above, cholesterol and diabetes have also been diagnosed and treated. Nevertheless, by comparison to my ancestors at a similar age, my quality of life is fairly good. However, had it not been for the medication I take each and every day, I would almost certainly be blind, subject to an occasional fit, probably obese, and seriously affected by chronic breathing problems; if not already deceased.
For the time being - at any rate - non of the above seems to apply and that is almost certainly due to the current trend in the UK of practicing 'preventative' - as opposed to 'curative' - medicine. For several years now, government policies have been affected by the need to make savings and it seems that price of the medication is cheaper than the cost of a 'cure'.
I can't help wondering, however, whilst I'm still of (arguably) sound mind, whether tinkering with the natural aging-process is the right course to follow. Although it seems to be beyond the blinkered understanding of those who take industrial action, the fact of the matter is that if lives are being extended then the cost of retirement will also increase. It's as simple as that and refusal to recognise the consequences is just plain stupid.
In any event, sooner or later, someone may to have to question whether , or not, the savings made by preventative medicine are, to some extent, cancelled-out by the increased cost of pensions; and, if that were to be the case, who would be brave enough to decide in favour of one - at the expense the other?