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  • Writer's pictureOlawale Ogunlana

Living above 120 Years shouldn’t be difficult in 2050. Here's why

Living above 120 Years shouldn’t be difficult in 2050

What comes to your mind when you hear words like "longevity"? Perhaps it conjures up pictures of some new scientific discovery splashed across newspaper headlines. Or maybe, it brings to mind the people of Okinawa, long dubbed the longest living people on earth. But, whatever imagination this may create, it remains the fact that the goal of every human being is to live a long, healthy life and to have financial security. And yes, that last part is essential.

As a medical doctor, one of the questions I get asked frequently is, "How do I live longer?" I consider that an interesting question because the conversation of longevity has come a long way. During the Roman Empire, life expectancy at birth was a brief 25 years. It increased to 33 years by the Middle Ages and went up to 55 years in the early 1900s. So, if we are to have an average life expectancy of 120 years in 2050, this article hopes to share the reasons behind it.

Tech is a leveler

Tech is a leveler

With the advances in scientific knowledge, diseases that were once deadly are now treatable. Better awareness campaigns have educated people on preventative measures and lifestyle changes to maintain healthy lifestyles. In addition, modern-day science techniques such as stem-cell research and gene editing methods (e.g., CRISPR) show great potential for increasing the quality and longevity of life. However, these may seem a little far into the future and relatively unaffordable for some people. But this won’t stay this way forever.

Furthermore, new consumer technologies are driving change towards life and health extension. The Centre for Disease Control has identified heart diseases as one of the primary factors contributing to early deaths. It explains why the latest wearable technologies provide an excellent avenue for people to take charge of their health. Many smart watches, for example, are equipped to track heartbeats, activity levels, calories burned, and record sleep patterns. The Apple Watch series is designed to call emergency services if the wearer has a hard fall that renders them immobile. The ECG is rated over 99% for accuracy in its readings. This is just one of the many ways people can use wearable technology to track an individual's health.

With this real-time tracking and compiling of health data, diagnosis is easier and faster, helping make personalized treatment plans even more effective. With more people able to store their health data electronically, treatment for diseases will be a more personalized and precise affair. In addition, treatment plans will consider each person's unique body composition and the nuances of what that means for their ability to respond to certain kinds of treatment over others. In other words, integrating technology into your health monitoring plan will improve lifespan and health span.

Where you live matters

Where you live matters

While it may appear insignificant, where you reside directly impacts your life expectancy. According to a study published in the American Economic Review, certain places are far better for growing old than others. In that study, locations with greater access to quality health care, lesser pollution, mild climates, and low crime rates were the top choices for someone who wants to live longer. These places are most commonly located by the shore and in larger cities, ideally with well-developed transportation systems. In the event of an emergency, this becomes critical.

Take, for example, Canada. According to this report obtained from the Aging Analytics group, a subsidiary of Deep Knowledge Group, Canada has an average life expectancy of 82 years. This life expectancy is a stark contrast to the countries in the African Continent. For example, the life expectancy of people living in countries located in West Africa is 58 and 60 years for men and women, respectively. Therefore, one could say that under normal circumstances, someone living in Toronto, Canada has a better chance of living longer than someone living in Lagos, Nigeria.

That said, Migration could improve your lifespan.

Healthy diets are helpful

Fact: It's advisable to develop healthy habits if you are keen on living longer. These habits will include eating vegetables, avoiding processed foods, becoming more physically active, and more. Technology is now so interwoven into our daily routine that it has become an aid to developing and maintaining healthy habits. One can keep track of their diet and keep accurate records of everything consumed, even down to the macronutrients in their meals.

While there are many diets out there purporting to cure all diseases and turn back the hands of time while bestowing immortality on its adherents, the best diet supported by years of data compilation is one that favors natural foods over junk food. It is no coincidence that many degenerative conditions can often be improved and managed with a successful dietary change. Countries with higher mortality rates often correlate with typical diets and diseases.

You are now in charge of your health

Over time, we have developed a culture of outsourcing responsibility for our health to health professionals. But as earlier mentioned, this is changing because of new technologies. Right now, you can be in charge of your health data and decide what happens with the information and who gets permission to access it. You can send your diet history to your nutritionist, for instance, or share your health data with your primary healthcare provider right from your mobile device.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of being physically active to maintain health and ensure longevity. It has tremendous benefits on our physical well-being and cognitive abilities. A simple 15 minutes’ walk every day can boost one's immunity, mood, and memory. The well-known effects of exercise are lower blood pressure and better heart health. Exercise is an excellent lifestyle designed for all age groups. Be sure to keep track of your exercise records such as physical activity levels, heart rate, blood oxygen saturation levels with the oximeter built right into your smart devices.

Living by building active relationships

Living by building active relationships

Studies have shown that loneliness leads to early death. Loneliness is just as deadly as smoking over ten cigarettes daily. In addition, there is evidence that suggests that lonely people die younger than their contemporaries. However, the good news is that having a supportive social system has also been proven to improve the quality of life of an individual. Being actively involved in community activities and volunteering are common ways to create a social support group. Being able to interact with other people can profoundly affect our mental health.

Proactive, not reactive

Proactive, not reactive

Without a doubt, one of the best approaches to diseases is prevention. And prevention is possible when people go for routine checkups, which aids the early diagnosis of diseases. For example, when discovered early, the chances of surviving cervical cancer are as high as 92%; however, this drops to as low as 56% when found in the advanced stages of cervical cancer.

In all, living above 120 years is not only possible but highly likely for everyone willing to utilize the advances in health tech in addition to making simple lifestyle changes. These lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, eating healthy foods, and avoiding substance abuse, are simple but effective. Additionally, it is essential to build connections that serve as social support systems. Finally, a positive mindset and regular medical checkups remain vital for ensuring a long healthy life well over 120 years.

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