Healthwatch: Secrets to a Longer Life


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Everyone wants to know, but only a few ever figure it out. What’s the secret to living a long life? The people in Bapan, China have figured it out. Bapan is known as “longevity village.” It has an average ratio of one centenarian, a person who is 100 years old or older, for every 100 people. In the U.S., that number is one in about 5,000. So, how can you make it to 100? Here are the answers that may get you there. 
How old do you think you will live to be? Your chances of reaching 100 are actually better than you may think. In 2015, there were about 78,000 centenarians in the U.S. By 2030, that number is expected to double to over 160,000. But how can you get there? 
The first thing you can do is stress less. It’s no secret that stress is not good for your health, but at least 70 percent of doctor visits are for stress-related ailments, such as high blood pressure or chest pains. A Yale university study found that feelings of stress or anger can increase a person’s risk for Afib by 600 percent. Another secret: smile more. A study by Wayne State University found that baseball players who smiled in their playing card photos lived on average seven years longer than those who didn’t. 
Finally, move it or lose it. Every 19 minutes, an elderly person dies from a fall.
Jose Santana, MD, MPH at Baycare Internal Medicine in Tampa, Florida, told Ivanhoe, “An elderly person who participates in balance activities, such as tai chi, is less likely to have falls.”
Surveys of 500 centenarians found that on average active centenarians don’t feel their age. Most reported feeling 20 years younger.  
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.

BACKGROUND: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average person in the United States can live, on average, another 19.3 years once they reach 65. The best way to avoid senior health risk:  manage chronic conditions, make healthy lifestyle choices, stay physically active and eat right. The leading cause of death for adults over the age of 65 is heart disease due to risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Furthermore, cancer is the second leading cause of death. According to CDC, 28 percent of men and 21 percent of women over the age of 65 have cancer. The third most common cause of death is chronic lower respiratory diseases. About 10 percent of men and 13 percent of women are living with asthma, and 10 percent of men and 11 percent are living with chronic bronchitis or emphysema. Furthermore, the number one condition that people over the age of 65 have to deal with is Arthritis which affects approximately 49.7 percent of all adults which can significantly diminish the quality of life. Other health concerns that make the list of top 15: Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, falls, substance abuse, obesity, depression, oral health, poverty and shingles.

THE TREATMENT: A few lifestyle changes can indeed make a difference by helping prevent disease. Unhealthy habits such as smoking, not eating enough fruits and vegetables, drinking too much alcohol, and not exercising can age a person by 12 years! A proper diet is essential to living a longer life and incorporating more fruit and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease by 76%. Moreover, not only can an individual live longer but look younger as well; antioxidants in fruits and veggies can help banish wrinkles. Furthermore, daily exercise can add up to four years to an individual’s life because of the positive effects it has on the heart, mind, and metabolism. Drinking alcohol can have both benefits and unfavorable effects. Drinking alcohol in smaller quantity, such as drinking one glass per day, can have significant heart benefits. Lastly, stopping smoking is probably the most important thing a person can do to delay the jaws of death; a study found out that women who quit smoking by age 35 can add six to eight years to their lives. 

TURN OFF THE TV: Studies have shown that the amount of television an individual watches can affect the quality and quantity of a person’s life. In 2010, a study followed 8,800 adults with no history of heart disease for six years. The study found that individuals who watched four hours or more were 80% more likely to die from heart disease and 46% more likely to die from any cause in comparison to someone who watched less than two hours of TV per day. Researchers also found the risk of dying from heart disease increased by 18% for  each additional hour spent watching TV, with overall risk of death increasing by 11%. Out of 8,800 people, 284 people died during the study. The study concluded that watching television is considered a sedentary activity. Nevertheless, television isn’t necessarily lethal; however, engaging in prolonged activity such as sitting means a lack of muscle movement. A way to resolve this issue is exercising during commercial breaks as a way to keep those muscles moving for a longer life.

? For More Information, Contact:

Janet O’Harrow, Media Relations Coordinator
BayCare Health System

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