Aging

Children born today in the United States can expect to live nearly 78 years. That life expectancy is a great leap forward from 1900, when the average newborn couldn’t expect to reach age 50. Similar increases have been seen in in developed nations all around the world. In the 20th century, life expectancy increased more than it had in any century since the beginning of human civilization.

Life expectancy at various ages in teh United States

And the longer you live, the longer you can expect to live. Average life expectancy for a newborn American is 78 years, while it is 84 years for a 65-year-old and 87 years for a 75-year old.

But extending the lifespan has also increased the burden of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, and other conditions that tend to affect older individuals. Most of these diseases, though, aren't inevitable consequences of aging. Instead, many are preventable.

Solid research from long-term studies such as the Framingham Heart Study, the Nurses' Health Study, and others have shown that the combination of not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and keeping blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar in check can prevent three-quarters or more of these chronic conditions.

Aging Articles

Health advice for 2017: Simplify, simplify

Simple approaches are likely to be the most effective in maintaining good health. Experts now advise a healthy eating pattern over counting calories or individual nutrients, walking for exercise, and using soap and water for preventing infections. (Locked) More »

How to make boredom work for you

Boredom is an unpleasant sensation that is usually masked by entertainment or activity. Dealing with boredom by creating mental diversions can stimulate creativity. Exploring one’s boredom can and lead to greater self-awareness. More »

How winter’s chill can challenge your heart

Cold temperatures cause the blood vessels to constrict and the heart to work harder to pump blood against added resistance. This can bring on symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath, particularly in people who already have heart disease. Precautions such as dressing warmly and avoiding overexertion in cold weather make good sense for your heart (and overall) health. (Locked) More »

Indoor cycling for older adults

Indoor cycling is a low-impact exercise that’s easy on the joints, and popular among older adults. It involves sitting on a high-tech stationery bicycle, in a group setting, with an instructor calling out instructions to simulate a real bicycle ride. Many classes are specifically for seniors, with instructors who are familiar with modifications for that age group. Indoor cycling has many health benefits, such as improving endurance and heart health, lowering blood pressure and stress levels, and strengthening hip and leg muscles.  (Locked) More »

Is my medication causing these side effects, or is it just aging?

Some signs of aging can be similar to medication side effects. For example, thinking skills decline in older age may be similar to the side effect of confusion from a group of medications called anticholinergics. To discern the difference, one should keep a chart or a log of all medications taken, and record the medication start date. If a side effect is noted within a few days or weeks of starting a medication, then it is more likely that the symptom is medication related.  (Locked) More »

Now hear this: You may need hearing aids

Some estimates suggest that by age 65, about one-third of men need hearing aids; however, only half of this group wear them. Many men resist hearing aids because they symbolize declining health, but these tiny devices can improve their communication skills, their relationships, and even their brain function.  (Locked) More »

Overcoming anxiety

Millions of older adults suffer from anxiety. Idleness in retirement, financial worries, and health issues are the leading causes of anxiety among older men. However, the condition is highly treatable with therapy, medication, and simple lifestyle changes. More »

Quick fixes to keep you from falling

About half of all falls take place in the home. To prevent that, it helps to eliminate fall hazards in every room of the home. For example, in bedrooms, night lights can help shine the path to a bathroom; in living rooms, it’s important to remove floor clutter and throw rugs, and rearrange furniture that blocks the flow of traffic; and in bathrooms, it’s best to remove loose throw rugs, use nonslip mats and treads on slippery floors, and install grab bars near showers, bathtubs, and toilets.  More »

What clinical trials can do for you

Participating in an observational study or a controlled clinical trial may involve a time commitment and some risks. However, doing so may provide health benefit and contribute to medical knowledge.  (Locked) More »