Where's the lifespan wall?
The human lifespan has a natural limit. It is currently estimated that humans can live at best 115-120 years. Recent research asked what if any factors contribute to long life. William Frishman, MD, cardiologist, internist, and professor of medicine at New York Medical College recently published his research in The American Journal of Medicine bringing to light these 10 factors and suggests areas of further research to move beyond that natural limits of life as we currently understand them.
The 10 Secrets of Long Life
- Genetics You cannot escape your genetics, but you can certainly help your genes express well by living well. Certain genetic disease markers are present within us and have some bearing on our longevity.
- Antibiotics, public health, and vaccines Advances in public health, clean water, clean air, and tools to reduce or eliminate the spread of infectious disease has been critical to reducing premature deaths and helping people live longer
- Cardiovascular disease risk factor interventions Hypertension, dyslipidemia, cigarette smoking and other risk factors for heart disease can be identified and treated to reduce death and extend years of life
- Advances in surgery Appendicitis was once a fatal disease as just one example of how far surgical technique has come to help people reach the genetically determined life span.
- Eliminating or modifying high-risk behaviors An individual's lineage, public health resources, and physicians have only so much of a role in longevity. It is the individuals own decisions and their modification and elimination of high-risk behaviors like smoking, excessive drinking, drug abuse, riding motorcycles, impaired (texting) and driving that will ultimately decide if long life is warranted.
- Family and social support The simple fact is that people live longer when they are connected to family and social support. As families increase geographic and social distance then the elderly will not do as well as long in custodial care.
- Eliminating war and poverty Domestic and international peace and prosperity can do as much for longevity while the impacts of war and famine on life are equally well known.
- Luck (divine intervention) A few inches more this way, a few seconds later, a left instead of a right could have made all the difference. Luck or divine providence? Either way, it is safe to say there is a fair amount of it at play.
- Exercise and nutrition More physical activity and informed food choices are as critical as ever in a world of added sugars and processed foods so that individuals reach their genetically determined lifespan.
- Cultivating optimism A Harvard study that linked outlook with life expectancy, “Growing evidence has linked positive psychological attributes like optimism to a lower risk of poor health outcomes, especially cardiovascular disease. It has been demonstrated in randomized trials that optimism can be learned. If associations between optimism and broader health outcomes are established, it may lead to novel interventions that improve public health and longevity.”
Living beyond 115 to 120 years?
It may be possible according to Dr. Frishman. He believes the development of gene and stem cell manipulation and senolytic drugs that are used to kill old cells will make living beyond current limits possible. He calls these areas a worthy pursuit based on their potential to maintain and enhance the quality of life.