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

Practical advice for helping people with dementia with their daily routines

Caring for someone with Alzheimer's is one of the toughest jobs 
in the world. "It is stressful, physically and emotionally draining, and very expensive, as almost 15 million unpaid caregivers for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias can attest," says Dr. Scott McGinnis, medical editor of the Harvard Special Health Report A Guide to Coping with Alzheimer's Disease. Learning how to take care of a person with dementia can be a trial-and-error process. Every person with dementia and every caregiver is unique, and so is their relationship. However, the following general tips may be useful in helping people with dementia remain physically healthy and connected to the world. More »

4 tricks to rev up your memory

Forgetting things from time to time is probably related to either brain changes that come from aging or from underlying conditions. Treating underlying conditions can help boost memory. Other strategies can help, too. Tricks include repeating something out loud to increase the likelihood that information will be recorded and retrieved later when needed; creating a list of errands or appointments to give the brain additional hints to retrieve information; and making associations between old and new information, such as connecting a person’s first name to something familiar. More »

Can drinking tea prevent dementia?

A new study suggests being a regular drinker of tea may protect against dementia, especially for people who are genetically predisposed to the disease. Researchers point to tea components like flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential, and L-theanine, which regulates neurotransmitter and brain activities. More »

Getting a start on growing stronger

Strength and power training can slow muscle loss and can also help prevent or control arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis and improve cognitive function. The exercises described can be performed at home with minimal equipment. More »

Should you consider a low-cost hearing-aid alternative?

The FDA no longer enforces the requirement for getting a hearing test before purchasing a hearing aid. However, while nonprescription FDA-cleared hearing aids aren’t available yet, a variety of personal sound amplification products are, and they may be good alternatives for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. (Locked) More »

The healing power of art

Creative activities, particularly when undertaken with the direction of a trained art therapist, can relieve stress and aid communication in people with cancer, dementia, or depression. Doing arts and crafts can help arrest cognitive decline in healthy older people. (Locked) More »

Looking for early signs of Alzheimer’s

For a long time, memory loss was seen as the telltale sign of Alzheimer’s disease, but this is not necessarily the best way to identify the disease in its earliest stages. In fact, it is now believed that Alzheimer’s-related changes begin in the brain at least a decade before common symptoms emerge. The goal now is to find multiple markers and use a consolidated effort in hopes of diagnosing the disease as early as possible. More »

Reducing dietary salt may mean fewer nighttime bathroom trips

Men who battle with nocturia—waking up at night to urinate—may find relief by reducing the amount of salt in their diet. People who lowered their daily salt intake from 10.7 grams to 8 grams reduced their average nighttime frequency of urination by almost 50%—from 2.3 times to 1.4 times. More »