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

Aging voice

Changes related to aging can affect the voice, making it sound breathier and weaker. Drinking plenty of water and staying physically fit can help lessen the changes. Voice therapy can retrain and strengthen the voice, too. (Locked) More »

Stay driving to stay independent

Aging brings physical changes that can jeopardize driving skills. Changes in eyesight may make it harder to see at night and read traffic signs. Hearing loss can mask outside noise such as sirens and horns. Chronic physical challenges such as arthritis pain may cause difficulty gripping a steering wheel, turning to look for traffic, or pressing the brakes. Problems with thinking skills can cause drivers to get lost or become confused in high traffic. It’s important to address potential driving issues as soon as possible to stay safe on the road. More »

Loss of sense of taste

The sense of taste can decline with aging. In some cases, the change may be associated with a medical condition that can be treated and reversed. There are no medications or dietary supplements to improve taste. (Locked) More »

Are you experiencing normal memory loss or dementia?

Many people experience memory slips as they get older. Memory lapses can be a normal part of aging or a side effect of certain medicines or health conditions. The pattern of memory blips can help distinguish normal age-related memory loss from more serious dementia. (Locked) More »

Fall prevention: What works?

Researchers have identified several effective fall prevention strategies, including home safety modifications, home-based exercise programs, tai chi, cataract surgery, changes to medication doses, and anti-slip shoes. (Locked) More »

Treating many conditions with just one pill

A polypill is a treatment that combines three, four, or more medicines into a single pill. It’s an idea that could make it easier to take medicines, and thereby prevent many women from missing essential medications. Studies conducted so far have found that a polypill combining a statin and blood pressure–lowering drugs effectively reduced LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. Researchers still need to establish the dose of each medicine in the polypill that will be safe and effective for the largest number of people. More »

Avoid landing back in the hospital

Men are at a significantly higher risk of returning for urgent care within a month after being discharged from the hospital. It appears that men who are socially isolated—single, retired, and depressed—are more likely to return for urgent care. Doctors advise that both men and women should arrange for a caregiver to help at the time of hospital discharge and once at home to ensure adherence to a recovery regimen and physician follow-up. (Locked) More »