Variables predict a ‘long liver’
Facts on how long a person can live have always intrigued me. There are many variables that can predict a person’s death.
Health, lifestyle, economics and the people around you all determine the likelihood of a short life or a long life. Love and luck also play a huge part in longevity. Prayer has been proven to definitely affect a person’s life span.
The mortality rates in the United States have dropped sharply over the last 100 years. Survival of young children in the past 75 years has seen the most dramatic improvement with a 16 times difference in fatalities.
It is difficult to grasp that the mortality rate during the days of the Roman Empire was only 25 years old. In 1912, the overall longevity rate was 54 years. In 2012, the average age of mortality has risen to 78 years in the United States. There are many reasons for this improvement.
Currently cardiac disease, cancer and strokes account for the highest leading causes of deaths. Influenza and pneumonia are less deadly in 2012.
Medical advancements have the biggest influence over these death rates. The emergence of antibiotics, like penicillin and sulfa drugs, before and after World War II brought a huge decline in deaths due to infections. New treatments for cardiovascular diseases in the past 40 years have contributed to a more than 40 percent decline in the mortality rate.
Genetics, gender and race are the some of biggest determinants of mortality. I know a man who is 45 years old and jubilant over being alive; the men in his family rarely live past 40 due to heart disease.
Preventative medicine has been important in prolonging lives. Improved water supplies and sewage disposal is a basic cause of longevity. Early diagnosing and treatment of heart disease and stroke account for the aging of our population.
Changes in smoking habits and improved nutrition affect the longevity statistics. Although fewer people are dying of malnutrition and nutrient deficiency, some experts are predicting over nutrition may eventually affect the death statistics.
Many with cardiac diagnoses may have lowered their risk of death with a low saturated fat, reduced sodium diet with increased activity. On the other hand, even more have increased their risk of becoming an early statistic with high fat, elevated salt meals and more time in front of the television and computer.
In fact, some mortality tables predict that because of an inactive lifestyle and more processed food, those born after 2000 may have a lower life expectancy than those born prior to the new millennium. Go figure.
A woman in my church will soon celebrate her 97th birthday. She declares that because of good livin’ and a lot of lovin,’ she has outlived most of her friends. Another friend boasted of her advancing age with a cute ditty, “I’m a good cooker, a good looker and a long liver!” May we all be a long liver.
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator, registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a diabetes self-management training program at Aultman-Orrville Hospital, Orrville. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330–684-4776.