Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Longevity Calculator Feedback

I recently did a post on longevity and when I went back over my notes I realized that I had done a survey on the Internet about how long I could live. The results were interesting, but not as much as the advice given to me about how I could add years. The notes below are specifically for me, but I am sure that all could benefit from using some of the advice. Always check with your Dr. before acting on any advice you find on the Internet.

Here is how you can add years to your life expectancy:
+ 0.5
Cutting back on your hours at work, approaching, if you can, 40 or fewer hours, could add half a year to your longevity
+ 1.0
Going from 6 days of work per week to 5 days a week could add one year of life to your longevity
+ 0.5
Minimizing or cutting out your caffeinated coffee consumption completely could provide you with about half a year more in life expectancy
+ 1.0
If it is ok with your doctor, taking an 81 mg aspirin every day improves your heart and brain health and could help you delay or escape a heart attack or stroke. It is best to take the aspirin every day rather than your occasional habit of taking aspirin. Taking an aspirin each day, preferably in the evening, could add another year to your life expectancy.
+ 1.0
There is a clear link between the inflammation of gum disease and heart disease. Do a good job of flossing daily and you could add a year to your life expectancy.
+ 1.0
The more you can get fast foods out of your diet the better. While you are already doing a pretty good job of doing so, completely removing fast oods from your diet could add a year to your life expectancy
+ 1.0
Red meat is the primary source of potentially life-shortening iron. Cutting back your read meat consumption to 1-2 days per week or less could add 1 year to your life expectancy
+ 1.0
Iron is likely an age-accelerator and increases risk for age-related diseases. Stopping your iron supplement could add a year to your life expectancy
+ 1.0
Examining yourself for cancer or getting a screening for cancer could add a year to your life expectancy
+ 0.25
It is wise to keep a record of your laboratory tests and other health data that might be hard for you to remember. Doing so could add a quarter of a year.
+ 1.0
Decreasing your systolic blood pressure (the first of the two numbers) to 120 or even lower could add 1 year to your life expectancy
+ 0.5
Getting your blood sugar checked could add half a year to your life expectancy
Men, compared to women, need to be more diligent about good health habits. If they develop heart attack or stroke, men tend to do so about ten years earlier than women. Why women have this advantage is unclear. One possibility is that women make much more estrogen than men and this hormone might be associated with some protective effect, though this has in no way been proven. Another possibility is that chronic iron deficiency (due to menstruation) gives a woman her advantage. Iron is critical to our cells' ability to produce age-accelerating free radicals that also predispose to heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease and cancer.

Men can "menstruate" every eight weeks by donating a pint of blood at their local hospital or other blood bank center. Eight weeks is the recommended period (no pun intended) of time between donations. Donating blood has certainly not been proven to decrease cardiovascular risk, though the downside of performing this good deed would seem to be minimal.

Each year, with your health care provider, be sure to discuss the following:
  • Medical history and physical exam
  • Tobacco use
  • Diet and exercise counseling
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Sex-related concerns
  • Vision screen and hearing test
  • Depression screen
  • Self-examination counseling (e.g. skin exam)
  • Driver safety counseling (e.g. seatbelt use, assessment of driving safety record) 
 Have the following checked by physical examination and/or laboratory evaluation annually:
  • Obesity screening and counseling (body mass index and waist size)
  • Blood pressure
  • Prostate exam and serum prostatic specific antigen (PSA). Note that the following are increased risk factors for prostate cancer: obesity, if there is a family history of prostate cancer, African-American descent, consumption of a high-fat diet, and possibly vasectomy
  • Stool for any blood (this requires a special test to detect trace, invisible amounts)
  • Total blood cholesterol (specifically HDL and LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels)
  • Blood glucose (for diabetes)
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) particularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease. Increased risk includes two or more of the following: a family history of heart attack, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or history of smoking
 Be sure that the following is performed regularly at the recommended intervals:
  • Colorectal cancer screening
    • Flexible sigmoidoscopy, every five years
    • Complete colon examination by colonoscopy, every 10 years. (There is no need to perform sigmoidoscopy in the tenth year when colonoscopy also examines the sigmoid colon)
  • Tuberculin skin test (PPD) every 1-3 years, depending upon your risk of exposure to tuberculosis
  • Tetanus vaccination every five years
  • Exercise treadmill test (ETT) if at increased risk for heart disease, or if warranted according to your healthcare provider 

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