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

Can we slow the aging process?

Scientists are beginning to understand the natural biological processes that control aging, and they have made exciting discoveries about tinkering with the process. For example, they’ve been able to make aged cells act like brand-new cells in lab experiments; they’ve figured out how to make worms live five times as long as they normally would; and they’ve been able to keep mice from becoming obese and from developing diabetes, kidney failure, and heart failure. (Locked) More »

Can you avoid macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration can be slowed or treated. There is hope for future treatments, and many approaches are being studied, such as gene therapy and stem cell therapy. For now the only advice to help ward off AMD is to practice healthy lifestyle habits such as exercising, not smoking, controlling blood pressure, and eating a healthy diet. Getting regular, comprehensive eye exams is one of the best ways to detect eye disease early and save vision. (Locked) More »

Don’t let vertigo spin out of control

Vertigo is a distinct type of dizziness. An estimated 40% of adults suffer from it at least once in their lifetime, with the risk rising with age. Besides being particularly scary, vertigo can be dangerous because it increases a person’s chance of falling. While there is no cure for most causes of vertigo, there are ways to reduce symptoms during an attack and help avoid recurrent episodes. A doctor can usually identify the type of vertigo and the best course of action. (Locked) More »

Here comes the sun

Men have many skin challenges as they age, including wrinkles, lines, spots, and discoloration. Older men also are at greater risk for skin cancers. Without adequate sun protection, these issues can become more frequent and severe. Therefore, men need to be even more diligent about sun protection to prevent further damage and shield them from skin cancer. That means following proper sunscreen protocol and wearing proper clothing and other protection when outside. (Locked) More »

Is male menopause real?

In general, men don’t really go through "menopause" because testosterone levels slowly decline over many decades. Symptoms such as low energy and decreased sex drive can sometimes be related to low testosterone levels that may improve with replacement therapy. (Locked) More »

Put your brain to the challenge

The brain has the capacity to "grow" as a person ages. Exposure to challenging experiences and tasks that require a person to learn and memorize information and skills stimulates the brain to form new neural connections, an ability called neuroplasticity. This  helps to maintain, and may even improve, memory and other brain functions. (Locked) More »

Shedding your skin

Chemical peels, which use a chemical solution to remove the top layers of the skin, are sometimes used to target skin changes that often occur with age. There are home versions as well as peels that are used in medical spas and dermatologists’ offices. They can be beneficial as long as one uses the right agent and the right technique. Used incorrectly, chemical peels can be harmful and even cause burns or pigment changes. More »

Understanding and treating pelvic organ prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the bowl-shaped structure of muscles and tissue that supports the pelvic organs weakens. This allows one or more organs in the pelvis, such as the bladder, uterus, small intestine, or rectum, to shift downward and bulge into the vagina. In some instances, the organs compress the urethra or shift the rectum, producing urinary problems or constipation. Women also commonly experience a sensation of a bulge in the vagina, in addition to pain or pressure, and sex may be painful. The three main treatment options for the condition are pelvic floor physical therapy, a device called a pessary to hold the organs in place, and surgery. (Locked) More »

What’s causing the ringing sound in my ear?

A ringing sound in one or both ears is usually a form of an annoying condition called tinnitus. When tinnitus persists, treatment  such as cognitive behavioral therapy, tinnitus retraining therapy or biofeedback, can ease symptoms. (Locked) More »