Human Life Expectancy
Life expectancy depends on the genes we inherit.
But we can extend that by 70 percent because of two factors that
we can control, lifestyle and environment.
Factors such as improvement in health, sanitation,
and nutrition have led to the progressive increase in human life
expectancy. Peace and order and economics also figure into the
equation. Future discoveries in disease management, prevention,
and genetics will further improve longevity. It is easy to imagine
that in a few decades, human life expectancy will closely approximate
human lifespan of 120 years.
Typically, the top causes of death among individualsaged
65 years and older are: heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular
disease, chronic obstructive lung disease, pneumonia and influenza,
diabetes, and accidents.
We can choose to modify some of the risk factors
that lead to these diseases, such as: lack of exercise, smoking,
drug and alcohol abuse, weight gain, stress, and social isolation.
Good health care is also a cornerstone for longevity.
Primary prevention reduces the risk of disease before it occurs.
Secondary prevention involves adequate control of disease that
is already present. Both forms of prevention are cost-effective
and backed by scientific studies.
Primary disease prevention includes:
1. Regular check-up with your physician. Tests
appropriate to one’s age are advised. Valuable tests include
those that detect your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and
risk for heart disease and its complications. Women with risk
factors for osteoporosis are advised to undergo a bone densitometry
2. Immunization against flu, pneumonia, tetanus.
All persons aged 60 and older are encouraged to receive yearly
anti-flu shots and at least one pneumococcal 23 polyvalent vaccine.
3. Cancer screening. Cancer screening appropriate
to one’s age includes mammography, pap smear, and prostate
If you have known diseases such as hypertension,
high cholesterol, and diabetes, you can actively lower the risk
of future complications by being physically active, exercising
regularly and eating healthy.
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