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Longevity: Extending Life Span Expectancy

  • Synopsis: Last Updated: 2017-05-12 - Information on life span including health physical and diet factors that may increase human life expectancy in the future

Definition: Longevity (Life Expectancy)

The term "longevity" is sometimes used as a synonym for "life expectancy" - however, the term "longevity" is sometimes meant to refer only to especially long lived members of a population, whereas "life expectancy" is always defined statistically as the average number of years remaining at a given age.

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The word "longevity" is sometimes used as a synonym for "life expectancy" in demography or known as "long life", especially when it concerns someone or something lasting longer than expected.

Life expectancy at birth has risen rapidly during the last century due to a number of factors, including reductions in infant mortality, rising living standards, improved lifestyles and better education, as well as advances in healthcare and medicine.

Economic development and the improvement in some environmental conditions (for example in many urban areas), improved lifestyles, advances in healthcare and medicine, including reduced infant mortality, have resulted in a continuous increase in life expectancy at birth during the last century.

Significant factors in life expectancy include gender, genetics, access to health care, hygiene, diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and crime rates. Evidence-based studies indicate that longevity is based on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices. Twin studies have estimated that approximately 20-30% of an individual's lifespan is related to genetics, the rest is due to individual behaviors and environmental factors which can be modified. In addition, it found that lifestyle plays almost no factor in health and longevity after the age of 80, and that almost everything in advanced age is due to genetic factors.

Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men?

Women as a rule normally outlive men, and this was as true in pre-industrial times as today. Reasons for this include smaller bodies (and thus less stress on the heart), a stronger immune system (since testosterone acts as an immunosuppressant), and less tendency to engage in physically dangerous activities. It is also theorized that women have an evolutionary reason to live longer so as to help care for grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Will you live longer if you come from a family who have lived long lives?

Recent research from the Long Life Family Study (LLFS) confirms that severe mortality-associated diseases are less prevalent in the families of long-lived individuals than in the general population. (Are Members of Long-Lived Families Healthier than Their Equally Long-Lived Peers-Evidence from the Long Life Family Study) . An international collaborative study of the genetics and familial components of exceptional survival, longevity, and healthy aging.

Researchers found that seven conditions were significantly less common for siblings in a long-lived family, than for similarly aged controls:

  • Alzheimer's,
  • Hip fracture,
  • Diabetes,
  • Depression,
  • Prostate cancer,
  • Heart failure,
  • Chronic kidney disease.

Somewhat in contrast, the LLFS siblings were more likely to be receiving care for arthritis, cataract, osteoporosis, and glaucoma. Spouses, offspring and offspring spouses of these long-lived sib-ships shared in the significantly lower risk for Alzheimer's, diabetes, and heart failure. Thus, both genetic and environmental factors appear to be in play. Since most of the offspring generation are not yet seventy-five, it will be fascinating to see whether this early evidence for a health advantage in both genetic and marital relatives of long-lived families strengthens as the cohort ages.

Differences in education, employment opportunities, lifestyle behaviours, social mobility and the wider local environment all have a major impact on male and female longevity. Where we live seems to influence how long we might live. However, wherever we live there are things we can do to improve our chances of living a longer and healthier life.

  • Don't smoke, don't binge drink, eat a healthy diet and take regular exercise. This can add 10 years to your life.
  • Maintain and develop strong social networks, with family or friends. Some studies suggest this has a protective effect on health.
  • Take advantage of any educational opportunities available in your adult life, even if you didn't do well at school. This seems to have health benefits.
  • Volunteer - There are likely to be opportunities to volunteer wherever you live and some studies suggest this can help maintain mental health and improve life expectancy.

Will Humans Live Longer in the Future

The U.S. Census Bureau view on the future of longevity is that life expectancy in the United States will be in the mid-80s by 2050 (up from 77.85 in 2006) and will top out eventually in the low 90s, barring major scientific advances that can change the rate of human aging itself, as opposed to merely treating the effects of aging as is done today. However, recent increases in the rates of lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, may drastically slow or reverse this trend toward increasing life expectancy in the developed world.

Some argue that molecular nanotechnology will greatly extend human life spans. If the rate of increase of life span can be raised with these technologies to a level of twelve months increase per year, this is defined as effective biological immortality and is the goal of radical life extension.

Quick Facts: Longest Living People

The Gerontology Research Group validates current longevity records by modern standards, and maintains a list of super-centenarians; many other unvalidated longevity claims exist.

Record-holding individuals include:

  • Sarah Knauss (1880-1999, 119 years, 97 days): The second oldest documented person in modern times and the oldest American.
  • Christian Mortensen (1882-1998, 115 years, 252 days): the oldest man in history whose age has been verified by modern documentation.
  • Jeanne Calment (1875-1997, 122 years, 164 days): the oldest person in history whose age has been verified by modern documentation. This defines the modern human life span, which is set by the oldest documented individual who ever lived.

While various other individuals have lived between 110 and 114 years, the above mentioned people are the only ones known to have lived longer than 114. Pre 20th century individuals attaining lifespans of 75 years or greater, include Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Cato the Elder, Thomas Hobbes, and Michaelangelo.

Statistics: Life Expectancy

Life expectancies in different types of countries:

  • Developed countries: 77 - 90 years (e.g. Canada: 81.29 years, 2010 est.)
  • Developing countries: 32 - 80 years (e.g. Mozambique: 41.37 years, 2010 est.)

Population longevities increasing as life expectancies grow:

  • UK: 80 years in 2002, 81.73 years in 2010
  • USA: 77.4 years in 2002, 78.24 years in 2010
  • Italy: 79.25 years in 2002, 80.33 years in 2010
  • Spain: 79.06 years in 2002, 81.07 years in 2010
  • Australia: 80 years in 2002, 81.72 years in 2010
  • France: 79.05 years in 2002, 81.09 years in 2010
  • Monaco: 79.12 years in 2002, 89.73 years in 2011
  • Germany: 77.78 years in 2002, 79.41 years in 2010

Average Life Span Expectancy Chart - How Long Will I Live - Ian Langtree - (2015-02-09)
https://www.disabled-world.com/calculators-charts/life-expectancy-statistics.php



Latest Life Expectancy Publications

  1. Life Expectancy for People With Parkinson's Disease and Lewy Body Dementia
  2. Epigenetic Clock Distinguishes Between Chronological and Biological Age
  3. Average Life Expectancy Set to Increase in Developed Nations by 2030
  4. Europeans Living Longer, But Not Always in Good Health
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