Morbidity Compression: What is it? Why Should YOU want it?

By Esther Sears, FNP, AOCNP

What is Morbidity Compression?

Morbidity compression is a term coined by Dr. James Fries who proposed that the lifetime burden of illness could be reduced if the onset of chronic illness could be postponed. Morbidity is generally worse and begins sooner in those who are suffering from chronic diseases that are often the result of poor lifestyle choices.  The goal of morbidity compression is to make that period of decline much shorter while living longer.  It is the difference between having progressively worsening health from 55 until death at 78 versus having a decline in health at age 83 and dying at 88.

How can YOU Delay Morbidity?

The best way to delay morbidity is to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to address underlying issues contributing to chronic disease.  There are communities throughout the world called “Blue Zones” in which the people experience morbidity compression, often living into their 90th or 100th decade.  They suffer few chronic illnesses and often live active and productive lives to within a few short years of passing.  What lifestyle practices do they have in common?

  1. They keep moving.
  2. They do not eat to the point of fullness
  3. They eat plant based diets with less emphasis on meat
  4. They drink alcohol in moderation
  5. They have a sense of purpose, a reason to get up in the morning
  6. They practice healthy stress management strategies
  7. They participate in a spiritual community
  8. They make family a priority
  9. They have good social connections

You can learn more about this healthy lifestyle in the book “The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest” by Dan Buettner

You Can Impact Your Morbidity Timeline!

The good news is that it is never too late to impact your morbidity timeline.  Whether you are in the early stages of decline or in the middle, you can change the trajectory of dis-ease.  It IS possible to feel better, have more energy, decrease your pain, and even improve your mobility by addressing the underlying imbalances contributing to your decline and making life changes to reverse them.  Helping people with this is my passion!  If you are interested in morbidity compression and need help with uncovering the root causes contributing to your decline, consider making an appointment with me call 208-338-0405.