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

Is there a way to treat seborrheic keratosis?

Seborrheic keratoses are raised, rough lesions that appear typically on the trunk, back, face, or neck after age 50. They are not cancerous or contagious, and there is no way to prevent them or stop them from returning once removed. (Locked) More »

When is body temperature too low?

Older adults tend to have lower body temperatures—an average of 97.7° F. While this is not cause for alarm, they should be mindful about prolonged exposure to cold environments and even the slightest fever. (Locked) More »

When worry becomes a problem

People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) constantly anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about issues like health, money, and family even when there is no apparent reason for concern. Left alone to manifest, GAD can lead to serious health problems, like high blood pressure, depression, and unhealthy behavior like excessive drinking. More »

Crave a better appetite

It is common for appetite to decline with age because of loss of taste buds and sense of smell, chewing problems, medication side effects, and gastrointestinal issues. These problems can change men’s eating habits, leading them to move away from healthier foods to ones that can increase their risk of high cholesterol high blood pressure and diabetes. Changing how men approach meals and meal making and addressing medical concerns can often help increase their appetite for healthier fare. (Locked) More »

What to do about mild cognitive impairment

Everyone has occasional bouts of forgetfulness, but if these episodes become frequent or interfere with daily life, it may be a sign of mild cognitive impairment, or MCI—a stage between the usual cognitive decline of normal aging and more serious dementia. While there is no single proven method for preventing or slowing MCI, research has found that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by eating right, exercising, and perhaps enlisting in an MCI-focused clinical trial. (Locked) More »

Midlife heart health shows a link with future risk of dementia

People who have high blood pressure and diabetes and who smoke during middle age have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. These vascular (blood vessel) risk factors may leave them more prone to dementia 25 years later. Having diabetes in middle age may be almost as risky as having the gene variant known as APOE4, which is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Even slightly elevated blood pressure during midlife may be associated with dementia in later life. (Locked) More »