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

Setting up a home gym

Regular strength training can help older men slow muscle loss and even increase muscle mass into their 90s. One challenge they face is finding the time and place to exercise. Joining a gym or enlisting a personal trainer can help maintain regular workouts, but for those who cannot make it to the gym or afford a trainer or gym fees, setting up a home gym is a great alternative. (Locked) More »

Straight talk about your sex life

A recent survey found that even though many older adults enjoy an active sex life, few talk about their sexual health with their doctor or other health care provider. It’s important to have an open line of communication because in general, sexuality changes over time, and many older men encounter problems that can interfere with performance, such as erectile dysfunction or problems with arousal, energy, and stamina. (Locked) More »

An introvert’s guide to healthy social engagement

Research continues to stress the importance of social interaction to long-term health. On average, people who are more isolated are at a higher risk for heart disease, depression, and early death. Yet people who prefer solitude over group outings, are often at a disadvantage when it comes to social engagements. They can still tap into the health benefits of socializing without changing their personality by following some simple guidelines on how to engage with others. (Locked) More »

Feeling young could signal a younger brain

People who feel younger than their age scored higher on memory tests, rated themselves as healthy, and were less likely to have symptoms of depression compared with those who did not feel younger. More »

Why wound healing gets harder as we age

Wounds in older adults can take a long time to heal. Treatment involves a combination of approaches such as debridement, special dressings, keeping pressure off the wound, exercising, taking a multivitamin, and eating a healthy diet with the recommended amounts of protein. Because wounds are tricky, it’s important to try to prevent them by switching positions often; keeping an eye out for nicks, cuts, and early signs of pressure wounds; and controlling conditions that can lead to wounds, such as diabetes and venous insufficiency. (Locked) More »