According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the life expectancy for the population in 2013 was 78.8 years. Some of us are getting close to the estimate; some won’t make it; and some have an opportunity to improve their odds. It is useful to look at the CDC’s listing of causes of death in 2013 and the summary data before making suggestions on how the reader can improve their life expectancy. Hopefully this will add some relevancy to the suggestions. If not, continue as you are and the best of luck to you.
Death by cause in 2013
- Heart disease: 611,105
- Cancer: 584,881
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 149,205
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 130,557
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,978
- Alzheimer’s disease: 84,767
- Diabetes: 75,578
- Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,979
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 47,112
- Intentional self-harm (suicide): 41,149
Data for United States in 2013
- Number of deaths: 2,596,993
- Death rate: 821.5 deaths per 100,000 population
- Life expectancy: 78.8 years
- Infant Mortality rate: 5.96 deaths per 1,000 live births
Tips for living longer and better:
- Do not smoke or use any method of ingesting nicotine. Nicotine is a vascular dilator that causes damage to the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. Nicotine is also a carcinogen to lung, kidney, liver and bladder cancer.
- Eat healthy food in moderation. Obesity is a major indirect cause of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Sugar is a killer. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is the worst form of sugar. Avoid processed foods with MSG, excess salt, artificial dyes, and empty calories, e.g. Twinkies, ramien noodles.
- Exercise daily. Exercise lowers weight, strengthens the heart, and lowers stress. 20 minutes of vigorous exercise and 20 minutes of walking or other moderate exercise each day is an achievable level of exercise.
- Manage stress. Stress raises blood pressure, adversely affects the immune system, and indirectly leads to heart disease, obesity and cancer. Meditation or deliberate isolation for 15 to 60 minutes a day will improve health. Music is a stress reducer for many. Deep breathing is also useful.
- Avoid using alcohol or drugs to manage stress and emotional issues. Excessive use of alcohol and prescription drugs leads to damage to the liver, kidneys and brain functions. Do an intervention on yourself.
- For those approaching 65 or older, falls are a major cause of death. Do balance exercises. Use canes or walkers if balance is impaired. Lean slightly forward when walking up stairs or an incline. Lean slightly backwards when walking down stairs or an incline.
- Pay attention to your body for health issues. Blood in the urine or stool is never trivial. Severe chest pain, abdominal pain, excessive headaches are all warning signs that the body needs attention.
- Maintain social contact with other healthy people. Social contact is stress reducing. Social contact with physically active people following good health habits can contribute to your health. Avoid negative people if possible. Get a hobby, with an emphasis on helping others.
- Make a commitment to live healthier, which includes following the above suggestions. Not making this commitment is a decision that you want to die earlier. That is a choice.
Americans are among the people around the world that are seeking the magic pill to health and happiness. There isn’t one, although the pharmaceutical companies are trying to develop and sell that magic pill. The wiser approach is to eat right, live right, and be happy to the best of your ability. It is not too late to change your path and increase your life and life quality.