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

Crave a better appetite

It is common for appetite to decline with age because of loss of taste buds and sense of smell, chewing problems, medication side effects, and gastrointestinal issues. These problems can change men’s eating habits, leading them to move away from healthier foods to ones that can increase their risk of high cholesterol high blood pressure and diabetes. Changing how men approach meals and meal making and addressing medical concerns can often help increase their appetite for healthier fare. (Locked) More »

What to do about mild cognitive impairment

Everyone has occasional bouts of forgetfulness, but if these episodes become frequent or interfere with daily life, it may be a sign of mild cognitive impairment, or MCI—a stage between the usual cognitive decline of normal aging and more serious dementia. While there is no single proven method for preventing or slowing MCI, research has found that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by eating right, exercising, and perhaps enlisting in an MCI-focused clinical trial. (Locked) More »

Can brain training programs actually improve memory?

Brain training programs operate on the premise that practicing one cognitive task will translate into better memory and intelligence. However, available studies are often flawed. More research is needed before these programs are deemed to have any health benefit. More »

Midlife heart health shows a link with future risk of dementia

People who have high blood pressure and diabetes and who smoke during middle age have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. These vascular (blood vessel) risk factors may leave them more prone to dementia 25 years later. Having diabetes in middle age may be almost as risky as having the gene variant known as APOE4, which is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Even slightly elevated blood pressure during midlife may be associated with dementia in later life. (Locked) More »

Older adults are drinking more alcohol

Excessive alcohol use among adults ages 65 or older increased significantly between 2001 and 2013. Older adults are at higher risk for disability, illness, and death from many alcohol-related chronic diseases, falls, and injuries. More »

Overcoming resistant hypertension

Resistant hypertension is when blood pressure remains at or above 140/90 mm Hg despite taking the highest dosage of at least three different blood pressure medications, including a diuretic. An estimated 10% to 20% of people currently treated for hypertension will become resistant. Addressing issues like sleep apnea, excess alcohol intake, and use of over-the-counter pain medications can often help correct resistant hypertension. More »

Why do I bruise more easily as I age?

Easy bruising is more common for older men due to less fat tissue and more fragile blood vessels. Common medications like blood thinners, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also can increase your risk. Men should see their doctor if they experience unusual or frequent bruising. (Locked) More »