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

Can supplements save your sex life?

Most dietary supplements for sexual function haven’t been studied scientifically and may be a waste of money or dangerous for health. The supplements often contain hidden pharmaceutical drugs—like traces of PDE5 inhibitors, medications in the same class that includes prescription erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol, and smoking cessation can help boost sexual function without medication. If not, there are medical approaches that can help. More »

Easy ways to adapt exercises when you have arthritis

As helpful as exercise is for osteoarthritic joints, it can also lead to injury. One can avoid the risks by adapting exercise so that it does not place excessive force on the joints. That may mean ditching high-impact classes that include a lot of jumping and opting for low-impact classes or pool aerobics. Other exercise classes that help include tai chi and yoga. At the gym, a stationary bicycle or an elliptical machine is good for low-impact aerobic conditioning. When using dumbbells or weight machines, it helps to use lighter weights with more repetitions. (Locked) More »

Does your face need a workout?

Some publications and online sources have been touting face workouts as way to slim, tighten, and improve the appearance of the face. But there is no hard evidence that these exercises work as advertised. In theory, they may be helpful for certain conditions, but improvements are likely to be small. More »

Don’t be such a stiff

It’s not known why people experience more morning stiffness as they age. Stiffness often occurs after long bouts of inactivity, which is why people feel so stiff when they wake up, since sleeping is when people are inactive for the longest continuous time. Stiffness also can happen after sitting for long periods like when watching TV, working at the computer, having dinner, or riding in a car. Staying active during the day and adopting a morning stretching routine can help prevent stiffness and soreness. (Locked) More »

Ouch! Shoulder pain and how to treat it

With age, the shoulders may be more susceptible to pain and injury. If the pain follows an injury or is severe, getting an immediate diagnosis from a doctor is wise. For general or mild pain, at-home strategies may be enough to ease discomfort. (Locked) More »

Retiring? What about your health?

It’s important to consider future health needs when it’s time to select a community for living out the golden years. Look for destinations with access to medical services, nonprofit health services like meal delivery, transportation services, affordable housing options, recreation opportunities, volunteering opportunities, and private-duty services. For example, walkable city centers are getting more consideration as retirement destinations, as are college towns that offer robust learning opportunities or entertainment. One shouldn’t overlook staying in an existing house and community if it meets future needs. More »

What can I do about poor night vision?

Summary: As people age, trouble seeing at night becomes a common issue. Getting an eye exam to update prescriptions and look for common age-related eye problems can help improve vision. More »