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

Are cracking joints a sign of arthritis?

The cracking and popping sounds in joints are often due to tendons or muscles moving over the joint or the popping of nitrogen bubbles normally in the joint space, and are not an early sign of arthritis. More »

The new networking

In order to stave off isolation and loneliness in later life, a person should consider expanding his or her social network by reaching out to create new friends. It may take work to find and nurture relationships. Some ways to meet new people include getting to know one’s neighbors, volunteering for political organizations, joining an adult sports league, getting a part-time job, mentoring young people, joining a choir, taking a class, and just asking an acquaintance to meet for coffee. (Locked) More »

Baby boomers: Don’t forget hepatitis C screenings

Despite a 2012 recommendation that all baby boomers get tested for hepatitis C, an analysis of government health surveys suggests that only about 13% of baby boomers had been tested for hepatitis C by 2015, up just one percentage point from 2013. More »

Is this normal?

Different women experience different types of vaginal discharge. There is a wide range of “normal.” However, some symptoms like postmenopausal bleeding do warrant a closer look from the doctor. (Locked) More »

The ears have it

At age 65, one out of three people has a hearing loss. Studies have shown that hearing loss can increase a person’s risk of injuries as well as cause everyday communication problems. An ear and hearing exam can help a doctor diagnose a person’s hearing loss, identify possible causes, and determine whether the person needs hearing aids or another type of hearing assistance. More »

Working later in life can pay off in more than just income

Many older adults are working past retirement age, which may have a good or a bad effect on health. Studies have linked working past age 65 to a reduced risk for developing heart attack or dementia, and a reduced risk of dying prematurely. However, working past retirement age can cause stress. Some studies have linked retiring from the work force with a substantial reduction in mental and physical fatigue and depressive symptoms. If one is going to work past retirement age, it’s best to get a job that is meaningful and enjoyable. More »