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

Are you old enough to give up your screening mammogram?

There is no universal age to stop screening mammography, but women over 75 should discuss with their doctors whether to continue. Women who are in poor health, have a reduced life expectancy, or are unwilling or unable to tolerate cancer treatments may want to stop screenings. But screenings might be appropriate in older women who are in good health and are willing to undergo cancer treatments if needed. (Locked) More »

Boning up on osteoporosis

About one in four men older than 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis during their lifetime. Proper bone health not only can help protect men from osteoporosis, but can also reduce their risk of serious breaks or fractures from falls or other injuries. Adopting certain exercises and getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D are the best strategies for keeping bones strong and safe. (Locked) More »

How can I treat painful night leg cramps?

Although nocturnal leg cramps can strike people at any time of life, they become more frequent with age. Performing foot stretches and applying ice and heat can treat flare-ups. Leg stretches, staying hydrated, and wearing proper footwear can reduce their frequency. (Locked) More »

Make up your mind

Struggling with making decisions is more likely as people age and experience natural cognitive decline. This can make it harder to choose the right course of action, especially if there are multiple options. There are steps people can take to improve decision making, such as narrowing down choices, gathering only basic information, and consulting with friends and family. (Locked) More »

Staying healthy when you’re raising young grandchildren

Caring full-time for a grandchild can have lots of health risks for older adults, such as muscle tears from lifting children or fractures from brittle bones that can’t support the increasing weight of a child. Such risks are in addition to those of being anyone’s caregiver, such as not eating right or exercising enough. Grandparent caregivers can help protect health by setting a rigid sleep schedule for everyone in the house, exercising with grandchildren as they ride bikes or run around, and serving healthy adult foods. (Locked) More »

Testing for dementia

There is no cure for dementia, and people cannot substantially reverse its effects, but there are ways to possibly slow its progression. But first, people need to know if they may have a memory disorder. Testing to confirm Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia is a multilayered process that includes several types of neuropsychological evaluations and biomarker testing. (Locked) More »