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

Forgetful? When to worry about memory changes

Memory changes can be scary, but they don’t always indicate Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Even so, a physician should evaluate sudden changes in the ability to perform daily activities. Early diagnosis has a number of benefits. (Locked) More »

Getting stronger despite frailty

Disease, surgery, and Father Time all can make men become frail and weak, which increases their risk of injury and slows recovery. However, there are ways to protect against frailty and even reverse its effects by adopting a multipronged approach of sufficient aerobic workouts, progressive resistance training, balance exercises, and proper nutrition. (Locked) More »

Valve replacement: Mechanical or tissue?

For an aortic valve replacement, experts usually recommend mechanical valves for people under age 50 and tissue valves for those over age 70. For people between those two ages, neither type has a clear advantage over the other. (Locked) More »

Is your drinking becoming a problem?

Statistics show that drinking among older women is on the rise. Many women suffer from alcohol use disorder. Identifying and accepting it can lead to successful treatment. (Locked) More »

Sexually transmitted disease? At my age?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are on the rise in people of all ages. There were more than two million reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in 2016, with significant increases in cases among middle-aged and older adults. For example, among people ages 55 to 64, reports of chlamydia cases nearly doubled between 2012 and 2016, from 4,950 to 9,321. The most common types of STDs include genital herpes, human papillomavirus, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and human immunodeficiency virus. (Locked) More »