HealthCommentary

Exploring Human Potential

Staying Well Past 90

Posted on | February 19, 2008 | No Comments

Most of what matters can be managed Having hit 60, and with 3 adorable grandaughters, and potentially 4 more on the way, I’m motivated to control my "Personal Disease Burden" so that I might physically participate in life, and still have my "wits about me" past age 90. A new study of 2,300 healthy men begun in 1981 (with 971 surviving into their 90’s) says that the major things that control that outcome are now known and are largely under our control. What are they? They are smoking, weight, blood pressure, absence of diabetes and regular exercise.

Smokers double their risk of death before 90. As for the other levels pushing early demise – diabetes makes death before ninety 86% more likely; obesity, 44%; high blood pressure, 28%; and deficient exercise, 20+%. High cholesterol didn’t make the list in this study – adding further confusion to the current risk of cholesterol vs. risk of statin controversy.

Experts say that the key to functional extended longevity, at least for those of my generation or above, may not be so much about delaying disease as delaying disability. Of course that will likely change for my grandchildren, who will probably have a fighting chance of avoiding many of the current chronic diseases altogether.

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