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

Get moving to slow cardiovascular aging

As people age and become less active, the muscle in the heart’s left ventricle—the chamber that pumps oxygen-rich blood back out to the body—becomes stiffer. But as with other muscles, it’s possible to keep your heart muscles in shape longer and perhaps even reverse some of the effects of age by getting regular cardio exercise of sufficient intensity and duration. More »

The health benefits of shared living

Living with others in older age has many benefits. It may help stave off health risks brought on by loneliness and isolation, and it may provide companions who are able to assist older adults with household chores, personal care, and transportation. Common living situations for older adults include moving in with adult children, taking on boarders, or living with friends. In these situations, it’s important to set boundaries and establish ground rules about privacy and expectations. More »

Breathing life into your lungs

By age 65, the average man has typically lost up to a liter of lung capacity compared with when he was younger. However, it is possible for a person to preserve lung function and maybe even slow its natural decline by consuming more antioxidant-rich fruits; adopting weight training to improve the core, back, and posture; and getting proper vaccinations to protect against respiratory infections. (Locked) More »

Can this DNA test help predict your longevity?

Telomeres are strands of expendable DNA that form protective caps on the ends of chromosomes. Telomeres protect chromosomes from shortening when a cell divides. Telomeres are damaged each time a cell divides and tend to shorten as a person ages. Commercial telomere tests promise to reveal a person’s telomere length and uncover a person’s true biological age. But it’s unclear if the tests are accurate and what a person’s telomere length actually means for health or longevity. (Locked) More »

Staving off dementia when you have mild cognitive impairment

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) progresses to full-blown dementia about 15% of the time among people 65 or older, and more frequently when a neurodegenerative disease (like Alzheimer’s) causes it. In that case, there are no medicines to stop this progression. However, some research suggests that a combination of healthy lifestyle habits, such as exercise and a healthy diet, may delay progression. When MCI is caused by an underlying condition, such as sleep deprivation, it may be possible to reverse it. More »

The truth about metabolism

Metabolism speed is often used to explain whether people have an easy or difficult time losing and maintaining weight. While metabolism plays a small role in weight management, people can increase their metabolism speed to a degree by following a proper diet and exercise. (Locked) More »

Why am I losing weight?

Unexplained weight loss should be investigated. It may be caused by an overactive thyroid, cancer, or a chronic infection. More »

The best meds for back pain

An estimated 80% of people will seek medical attention for back pain at some point in their lives. Most of the time over-the-counter pain relievers does the trick. But they may not be effective enough. Some people require stronger prescription drugs while they seek treatments to address the source of their back pain. (Locked) More »