Are we really living longer than 100 years ago?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Syzygys, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,671
    Sure, one would say, but I have found this interesting statistics:

    "Cardiovascular Disease is considered an elderly disease, or a disease that attacks the majority of people (90%) after the age of sixty. Did you know that after billions of dollars spent on drugs and procedures in America we have only gained 6.46 years of life over the last 82 years (for those who live to the age of 60)? Yes, if you lived to be 60 in the year 1920 you could expect to live 15.54 years longer, and in 2002 if you lived to be 60 you could expect to live 22 years longer."

    So we gained 6.5 years with all that medications and surgeries. One would think we could have gained 20-30 years at least... Again, this statistics is talking about the elderly, who already made it up to 60 at least.

    A few extra facts:

    A) Animal fat consumption has dropped over 21% since 1910.
    B) Whole milk consumption has decreased 50%.
    C) The consumption of butter has decreased from 18 pounds per year to 4 pounds.
    D) Over the past 80 years, cholesterol consumption has increased a mere 1%.
    E) Vegetable oil consumption, including hydrogenated oils, has increased 437%.
    F) Sugar consumption has gone from 5 pounds per year in 1900 to 163 pounds per year today.
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,151
    As I am sure you are well aware, the "average" is taken from combining the data from all of us. While most N Americans are much fatter than they were 20 years or 100 years or 1000 years ago, some of us remain lean. While the great majority are sedentary, some of us are still extremely active. While many of us eat over processed food products, some few consume organic well - balanced diets. I suck down quite a few glasses of tap water every day, but know a person who refuses to drink water - doesn't "like" it. :shrug:

    So, while some few of us live long and well, many of us die young after living sickly. That drags the average down pretty badly.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,671
    So your argument is, that drugs and heath care have increased the survival rate of the elderly more than just 6 years, but because lot's of them follow an unhealthy lifestyle, the true increase is brought down by irresponsible living?

    Not a bad argument. So to make a valid comparison, we would have to compare rather similar groups, shall we say, lean, active, non-smokers, or something like that...

    Maybe it is nature's way to counteract too long living, after all, there is no advantage from Nature's POV having a really old population. Thus improved life provides so many temptations that it is hard to live in a healthy way...
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,151
    All I need do is look around me and see what I see. More and more obviously obese persons, many of them smoking cigarettes. Sedentary persons who will do a lot to avoid walking a few extra steps. Persons who do not do even the basics of self care and/or bodily maintainence.

    Of course there are always those individuals who get away with smoking 2 packs of Lucky Strikes a day for 105 years, but they are statistical flukes, exceptions. Most of us would die from that if we chose to do that. All one needs do is listen to a senior smokers breathing.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    If those seniors are still functional and a profit to their society then there are natural pressures to keep them around. That (the grandmother theory) is why we have them with us now.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Yes, there are many ways to go wrong as we age, but there are also many ways to go right. We each get to choose.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  8. RobbieB Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    15
    I can't remember where I heard it, but recently I heard that the average age of an American is 75. Is that really true?
     
  9. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,671
    What did google say?
     
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    That's interesting information for people like me: age 69. But for most people a much more important statistic is: What is the probability that I will live to be 60?

    One hundred years ago, life expectancy at birth was about 30 years. Today it is 67. (Both figures are worldwide averages.) That means that today, when you're born, you're far more likely to celebrate your 60th birthday at all than your great-great-grandfather who was born in 1913. Of course that 1913 statistic is heavily skewed by the fact that a huge segment of the population died in childhood. A hundred years ago, and even back to the medieval era, once you survived to age 21 you were likely to make it into your sixties.

    So the real power of modern scientific medicine has been in saving the lives of children. Maybe that doesn't seem so important to you guys who are in your 20s and 30s. But how many of you are parents? Do you realize that as recently as the 1850s, if you had six children three of them would have died before puberty, one probably before his first birthday? Today parents in all but the poorest countries take it for granted that all of their children will grow up. Have you ever seen an ancient graveyard that has been preserved? All those tiny little tombstones? Can you imagine being a parent in those days, each time you have a baby wondering whether this one will be the one to survive to adulthood, rather than being the next tiny tombstone? What an awful way to live!

    Women still have miscarriages and stillbirths, and it haunts them forever. In my whole long life I've only met two women who had a child die before adulthood. They are devastated. Imagine a whole population living with that constant, repetitive grief!

    No, everybody gained about 30 years. Old people like me gained an extra 6.5 years. You're not very good at interpreting statistics, you must be an American.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Which seems like a rather strange statistic of limited value. The fact that there's a gigantic increase in the percentage of the population who makes it to 60 seems far more important than the fate of the people who do, in fact, make it.

    No. According to Wikipedia it's 36.8.

    There are a huge number of Americans below age 30. For the average age to be 75 would require an equally huge number older than 120. But on the whole planet only one person in recorded history has lived beyond 120, and only 29 lived to 115.

    You should have been able to do the math on this one! Or... is this why Americans are so easily fooled by statistics??? They really can't do the math?
     
  11. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,671
    I repeated twice this stats was about people who already made it up to 60. The point is that if you survived childhood 90 years ago and lived a decent and moderate life, your expected life was only 8-10% less than today with all those medications and technological advantages.

    Another point is that if we only improved 10% in 90 years, just how much more improvement can we expect in the next 100 years? Articles are dreaming about living up to 120+ and I don't think that will happen nor do I think it should.

    Unless they can give me youth and health....
     
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    I understand the logic, I just didn't understand the emphasis. I have no idea what it feels like to be a parent, but from speaking with people who are parents I have a solid impression that the death of a child causes much more grief than the death of an adult. Surely therefore, a greater-than-50% death rate among children (as recently as the "glorious" Roman era it seems to have been around 80%, and in some societies they didn't even name children until they had survived for a full year) must have an onerous overall effect on the general mood and attitude of a society, and this in turn must affect its culture and evolution.

    We've been conditioned over many centuries to expect people to begin keeling over in their 60s. (Even in ancient Rome the average adult who managed to survive childhood lived into his 50s, and this stable figure goes all the way back beyond Biblical times to the nomadic hunter-gatherers in the Paleolithic Era.) Even those of us who are already in our sixties find ourselves paying more attention to our wills and our end-of-life health-care directives, and picking the low-hanging fruit off of our "bucket lists," instead of making ten-year plans. The younger people we're going to leave behind may miss us and weep a little, but I'm sure most of them won't feel as despondent and cheated by fate, as they would if one of their toddlers, kids or teenagers died.

    Sure, we all have the capacity to adapt to the conditions that life presents us. I have no doubt that people who were accustomed to six or eight children out of ten dying before puberty managed somehow to also become a little more inured to it, otherwise civilization would have collapsed in a miasma of tears. But still, that reality has to have given them a much different perspective on life and the universe, and this would have affected their cultural development.

    Or not. One thing that amazes and puzzles me is that once those very few precious children survived into adolescence, the adults had no qualms about sending them into war. You'd think they would have wrapped them in their society's closest equivalent of styrofoam and shipped them off to the most peaceful place they knew of. But then, even today I don't understand why so many parents are not just cavalier but proud that their children are out there killing each other with guns and bombs and chemicals and, if all else fails, their bare hands. If my mother had tried to send me off to war I would have shot her first. Getting rid of the adult morons who think that war is ever the answer seems like a great way to start improving the world and increasing everybody else's life expectancty.

    The Wikipedia list of the hundred oldest people who ever lived only goes back to someone born in 1871 who made it to 115. This suspiciously coincides with the dawn of modern scientific medicine and public health: plentiful clean water, wrapped food, covered sewers, asepsis, vaccines, antibiotics, etc. So it could be that it really was these advantages that got us that far. The oldest person on record who lived to 122 was born in 1875. We'll obviously have to be patient and wait a few more decades to see if the people who were born in the 1880s, 1890s and the early 20th century had more advantages, since if they're going to celebrate their 125th birthdays they're simply not old enough to show up yet.

    Those of you in your 20s and 30s? It will be the next century before anyone knows if you live to 130 or 135 with your artificial organs and cyber-enhanced brains!

    In any case, it's reasonable to assume that most of the benefits of 21st-century medicine (which IMHO will be heavily centered on bits of nanotechnology cruising through our bloodstream making microscopic repairs along the way) will accrue to younger people because there are so many more of them. Even if the maximum age doesn't rise much beyond 122, the average life expectancy could still rise into the 90s or 100s if they can keep people in their 60s, 70s and 80s from dying of stroke, heart attack and Alzheimers, the three leading causes of death in that age group. Nanobots would certainly be the key to that!

    And why not look at all the causes of death in all age groups? Road accidents are in the top five worldwide, and in America guns have recently begun to kill more people than cars. Robotic technology will probably make a quantum improvement in road safety once the bugs are worked out. As for guns, if only we could divide the country in half and put all the gun nuts in one half and the rest of us in the other half, they could happily kill each other off and the rest of us would be safe.

    For teenagers, suicide is one of the top five killers. We need to do something about that. Overdosing on prescription medications is another, figure that out?

    We've covered the "health" part, but they're certainly working on the "youth" part. At age 69, Mrs. Fraggle and I look like our parents did when they were 55--except for her father who died of TB at that age, a disease which hardly kills anybody in the developed countries today. And there's nothing remarkable about us. Most Americans around age 70 look old but not decrepit. My best friend is 65 and she looks 45. Guys in their 30s want to dance with her, guys in their 40s want to take her home, and guys in their 50s think they're too old for her!
     
  13. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,671
    Slightly offtopic, but I read a year ago that today's kids are the first generation for a long time who are not supposed to live longer than their parents. If I recall, the explanation was being over weight and some other modern diseases. Sure texting and skypeing instead of walking with your friends doesn't help. They just have it too good....
     
  14. elte Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,253
    I think they are discounting medical advances that ought to be made in the lifetimes of those children that can cure the diseases they think will kill those children.
     
  15. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,671
    Well, you can only predict what you know. In the same way there could be world wide epidemics in the future that lowers their expected lifespan. So your argument works both ways...
     
  16. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,671
    [deleted post]
     
  17. elte Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,253
    I've noticed people predicting from what they know, and even leaving aside an accounting for unlikely things like epidemics, the predictors usually do something even more improper than limiting it to what they know, and that is to assume that things will continue like they are at the time of the prediction. Things constantly change, so it makes way more sense to adjust a prediction using an educated guess of changed circumstances in the future.
     
  18. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,671
    Again, you are just repeating your point, so I will mine: Sure things change but they can also change for the worse. And specially that we are running out of all kinds of natural resources while over populating Earth, what has a bigger chance of happening, a positive change or a negative change?
     
  19. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,984
    Yup, we read a lot of things... The internet is full of opinions and ideas... So, who wrote it and what makes their opinion/idea valuable?
     
  20. elte Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,253
    Okay, that's better there. The conditions for the future in which the outcome falls within have been laid out. And the effect of those conditions is predicted to have a negative influence.

    It bugs me how interviewees act as though things will continue the way they have been, except their one issue.
     
  21. rodereve Registered Member

    Messages:
    216
    Well I see some problems with your conclusion.

    #1. Having improved medicine that increases life-expectancy =/= people actually taking those medicines or procedures

    A lot of 'healthy' people don't go out of their way to see a doctor (why? they're healthy right?), and many only go to a doctor when you're noticeably affected by whatever sickness/disease they've got. I'm not sure why this is the case, but this is the mindset for many people in my age group (late teens/early 20s). You try your home/family remedies first, then you try to naturally get better (as my friend says), and if worst comes to worst, you take a sick day and go see the doctor. Not sure if its the health insurance system (well its free in Canada, but in other countries), or the terribly long wait times, or some philosophical internal struggle that you don't want to accept your mortality, but a lot of people avoid hospitals. CVD is a chronic disease, its not acute, it takes years of bad habits to develop symptoms like atherosclerosis. And some people just accept it as something inevitable in old age, so they don't see it is something curable, but something natural as you age.

    #2 Population and access to those medicine/treatments

    Well its obvious that population has grown exponentially since 1920. Simple argument would be, that there'd be more people born bringing the average down, than people with access to higher forms of medicines bringing the average up. Not everyone has the steady income to support medical bills of someone in old age with cancer, CVD or some debilitating disease. Even more so, the fact that they're in old age, that they have to be supported by younger family members and not by their own hand, it just bring in a whole host of social problems.

    #3 Medicine is not only positive benefits

    You ever watch a commercial for a new FDA-approved drug. The first 10 seconds is telling you what it does. The next 30 seconds list all the adverse effects of the drug. It's like you cure one symptom, but you receive 10 more negative side-effects from the medicine. Also with all the antibiotics dished out by doctors, we're headed faster towards stronger, more resistant strains. Maybe those medicines help treat CVD, but increase risk of respiratory disease. This sort of adds to the skepticism of going to the doctors/hospital, but I thought itd be a good extra point
     
  22. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,671
    And I see a problem with your logic.

    Sure, so what? The point is that the improved healthcare is available, and we are talking about averages. On average, people take more meds and get more care than 100 years ago/

    Since we are talking about averages absolute numbers are pretty much irrelevant, so this whole argument is invalid.

    Sure, but again, we are talking about averages. If a medication kills more people than helps, it is called poison, not medication.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  23. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,189
    We need to make a clear distinction between maximum lifespan and average lifespan. The two are often treated as if they are interchangeable mainly due to an ignorance of their significance difference. What we observe is that the maximum lifespan of humans has changed very little over the past couple of millenia. There has always been old people in their 80s and 90s, and perhaps longer, the problem has always been surviving the horrendous gauntlet of childbirth, infancy, wars, and then countless deadly diseases. All that we see in modern times is that the average lifespan has vastly improved simply because of better hygiene and modern science. What has not changed in any meaningful and significant way is our maximum lifespan.

    Some statements made here correctly reflect the realization that the average lifespan, at least of Americans, is starting to go in the wrong direction. The causes seem almost certainly related to lifestyle and diet. But even with those obstacles, for those with sturdy genetics modern science may well allow them to achieve the current maximum lifespan of just past 100 years.

    Current debates on diet and nutrition have become increasingly politicized and controlled by major drug and food companies. Their agendas have little to do with human health and longevity but almost exclusively with profits. Until we can separate the two opposing influences - the need for healthy nutrition vs profits, then average lifespans are likely to continue to decline.
     

Share This Page