Friday, February 7, 2020

An aging elitist

How to live forever is a popular topic of interest as evidenced by the sheer volume of articles and research devoted to it.  On any given day, there’s no shortage of reading material to cherry-pick and read about this subject.

A recent article in the New York Times reported that American life expectancy increased for the first time in four years in 2018.  It finally rebounded after three successive years of decline as a result of an opioid abuse epidemic. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, lower mortality from cancer, accidents and unintentional injuries explained the average life expectancy uptick for 2018, now at 78.7 years at birth.  While considered good news, American life expectancy is still less than most European countries.  

Meanwhile, to the delight of those wanting to live longer than ever before imaginable, aging-longevity influencers are adding new reading and viewing content to their blogs and websites at a blistering pace.  

Dr. Peter Attia, M.D. is one influencer whose content focuses on the science of longevity.  Among his many works is The 5 tactics in the longevity toolkit.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D. is another influencer who’s always adding new aging-longevity content to her FoundMyFitness website.  From autophagy, caloric restriction, epigenetic aging clocks, fasting and more, she offers a “ton of content” for the Ponce de Leon wannabe’s chasing their eternal fountains of youth.  The link between Metformin use and longevity seems to be one of her current topics of interest.

There are countless others who are devoting significant energy to the aging-longevity agenda, in the research they conduct, articles they publish and speeches they deliver to a captive “preaching to the choir” audience of Centrum Silver folks, and younger people too.

Hollywood actor and entertainer George Burns was able to reach the centenarian mark without the benefit of these modern-day aging-longevity influencers.  He did it thanks to daily exercise of swimming, walking, sit-ups and push-ups.  He also enjoyed smoking cigars and buying a new Cadillac every year.  Of course, his genetics obviously helped.

Kirk Douglas, another Hollywood actor, who recently passed away at age 103 years, also reached and surpassed the centenarian entry age.  He was interviewed at age 100 years and attributed his longevity to a wonderful, six decades long at the time, marriage.  Although his parents didn't live as long as he did, his genetics obviously helped.

A couple psychology professors conducted eight decades of research known as The Longevity Project that’s also the title of a book they wrote.  Their study of over 1,500 Americans for over 80 years pinpointed why some people live longer than others.  Being physically active, working hard and accomplishing desired results, challenging yourself and surpassing the limits you’ve set.  Being socially active with family and friends, having a good marriage and staying friendly with healthy people were also identified.

Meanwhile, another recent article appearing in the Financial Post had a catchy title “Treating aging like a disease is the next big thing for science.  The article quotes another longevity influencer, Peter Diamandis, who has said “The average human health span will increase by 10+ years this decade.”  He points to a dozen game-changing biotech and pharmaceutical solutions, including stem cell supply restoration and others that are beyond my middle-aged man meathead pay grade to comprehend.

This aging-longevity fascination is unbelievable!

Pierini Fitness is not yet ready to join the crowd that considers aging a disease.  He believes it’s a blessing, the gracefully aging version, because there are positive benefits from experiencing it.  By embracing it, we’ll be less likely to experience death bed resentment of why all the things we did to appreciably prolong our lives didn’t work.

Some might suggest there’s no downside to the elixir of hope, even if it’s false hope and this point is well taken.  It’s hard for them not to be mesmerized and tantalized by hope, of any kind, that their eventual meeting with the Grim Reaper will be much further away from their now than previously contemplated.  

Ponce de Leon never figured it out over 500 years ago and I don’t think most of us will either.  The elixir from the Fountain of Youth will continue escaping both of us in that we’ll likely not live as long as we’d like. Obesity, brought on by an opulent and gluttonous lifestyle many Americans live, brings on many of the maladies shortening life expectancy. 

Perhaps the solution is something simple like using duct tape covering the food eaten point of entry immediately after a necessary and sensible amount of food has been eaten.

None of this considers a proven American reality that those occupying higher socioeconomic groups have a statistically greater chance of reaching age 100 years than other groups.  Simply stated:  For life expectancy, money matters.

This, according to an article titled the same appearing in the Harvard Gazette on April 11, 2016, deserves our attention:

A Harvard analysis of 1.4 billion Internal Revenue Service records on income and life expectancy that showed staggering differences in life expectancy between the richest and poorest also found evidence that low-income residents in wealthy areas, such as New York City and San Francisco, have life expectancies significantly longer than those in poorer regions.”

The article also notes that access to health care is less of a contributing factor.  

So, we need to spend time improving our financial prosperity and the quality of the social circles we frequent.  

We need to spend time pursuing and “training” to be an aging elitist.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

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