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

Fall prevention program comes up short

A specialized fall prevention program managed by nurses wasn’t able to significantly reduce the risk for serious falls for high-risk adults over age 70, according to a study published July 9, 2020, in the New England Journal of Medicine. More »

More daily movement may lower cancer deaths

People who move more during the day may be at a much lower risk of dying from cancer compared with more sedentary individuals. Experts recommend getting at least 30 minutes of daily activity to counter the effects from sitting. More »

Sex differences in heart disease: A closer look

Heart attack symptoms tend to be pretty similar among both sexes. However, chest pain and sweating are slightly more common in men, while nausea and vomiting and shortness of breath tend to be more likely to occur in women. Heart attacks that show no evidence of a blockage in a major heart artery (known as myocardial infarction with nonobstructive coronary arteries, or MINOCA) tend to occur more often in women, but about 40% of these unusual heart attacks occur in men. (Locked) More »

Speaking up about orgasms

Two sexual problems that can arise with age are anorgasmia (the inability to achieve an orgasm during sex) and delayed orgasm (in which it takes longer than usual to climax despite proper stimulation). While men may be reluctant to discuss an orgasm problem with their partner or doctor, there are ways to manage the conditions, such as medication, therapy, and mechanical stimulation. (Locked) More »

Why do I smell certain odors that aren’t real?

A distorted sense of smell is quite common as people age. Called dysosmia, it can make people smell odors that are not there or be highly sensitive to certain smells. While it’s not bothersome for most, people should see their doctor if the condition becomes persistent. (Locked) More »

Does alcohol help protect the brain?

An observational study published online June 29, 2020, by Jama Network Open found a potential link between low-to-moderate alcohol drinking in middle age and better cognitive skills in older age. More »

Does human growth hormone slow the aging process?

Contrary to its reputation as an anti-aging supplement, human growth hormone is not effective at turning back the clock, and it may carry health risks. Commitment to a healthy diet and regular exercise is still the best formula for healthy aging. (Locked) More »