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

3 easy ways to boost your brain

Studies have indicted that caring for a dog, creating art, and spending time with a grandchild can boost different aspects of memory and reasoning. (Locked) More »

Boning up on osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is often considered a woman’s disease, but older men also need to be concerned about this bone-thinning condition. Osteoporosis can be detected early with a bone mineral density test, but there are steps men can take to help prevent and treat it. These include a combination of lifestyle changes, supplements, and medication, if necessary.  (Locked) More »

Does balance go south starting at 40?

Evidence suggests that the vestibular system in the inner ear—which helps detect motion and maintain balance—starts to decline early in middle age and gets worse with each decade. More »

What can you do to avoid Alzheimer’s disease?

It is unclear what causes 99% of Alzheimer’s disease cases. However, evidence suggests that healthy lifestyle choices—such as getting more sleep, exercising, and eating a Mediterranean diet—may help delay or prevent the disease. There is promising but conflicting evidence that other lifestyle choices—such as learning new things, connecting socially, and limiting alcohol intake—may also help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease. However, all of these healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent other chronic health problems.  More »

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 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 »

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 »