LIFE EXPECTANCY REACHES NEW HIGH

Americans are living longer than ever before. The average American will live to 78 years and 9.5 months, setting a record high in the U.S., according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.1 Life expectancy for a child born in 2012 increased about six weeks from the life expectancy in 2010 and 2011, according to the report, “Mortality in the United States, 2012.” As old age goes hand-in-hand with health issues, those with medical assisting degrees and pharmacy tech education will continue to work with patients through problems week by week, day by day.

“Life expectancy at birth represents the average number of years that a group of infants would live if the group was to experience throughout life the age-specific death rates present in the year of birth,” the report states.1 The CDC compiles information from all U.S. death certificates from 2012, and researchers analyze the death rates to project how long people will live.

In line with previous findings, women are still shown to outlive men. Females born in 2012 were expected to live more than 81 years, with men lagging behind nearly 5 years at 76.5 years, the CDC said. The reason for this may be tied to genetics and men taking risks.

As the years pass by, medical professionals will be responsible for helping treat diseases, infections and natural degeneration.

World health expectancy

Americans do not rank at the top of the charts. All around the world people are living longer. The World Health Organization said Japan has the highest life expectancy rates, with the average person living 84 years.2 Japanese women champion the longest expectancy in the world at 87 years, followed by Spain, Switzerland and Singapore. Meanwhile, the Central Intelligence Agency’s 2014 World Fact Book said the city-state of Monaco, the second-smallest independent state in the world after the Vatican, currently has the highest at 89 years.3

So, what are the secrets for a long life? A Japanese doctor weighs in on the subject.

“Improve your diet, stay active, continue to work as you get older,” Dr. Takuji Shirasawa, who teaches at the Department of Aging Control Medicine at Juntendo University in Tokyo, told the American Association of Retired Persons.4 “The key is not just to live longer, but to stay healthy longer.”

There remain gaps between rich and poor countries.2 People in high-income countries have a much better chance of living longer than people in low-income countries – and health care has a lot to do with that. In the U.S., relatively high access to modern medicine is largely responsible for the uptick in life​ spans.

Reasons for living longer

The CDC attributes this recent record to reductions in death from heart disease, cancer or stroke.1 Overall, declining tobacco use is considered a key factor in helping people live longer. Medical professionals can help younger patients avoid smoking in the first place, thereby limiting the host of problems triggered by tobacco.

Still, heart disease and cancer remain the leading causes of death.1 Students in medical assistance programs will continue to help older patients battle through these diseases by administering medication and recommending proper lifestyle changes.

Before this, cleaner drinking water and higher quality of living jump​started longer life expectancies. But what constitutes quality of life? The National Institutes of Health elaborates that quality of life is based on a number of factors, including health, diet, physical ability, sexuality, income, work and philosophy of life.5 Shockingly, the NIH said that what is really important is not what one has, but how he or she sees, evaluates and experiences what he or she has.

Another important reason why global life expectancy has improved so much is that fewer children are dying before their fifth birthday,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General.

In the U.S., the infant mortality rate dropped again, to a historic low of 5.98 per 1,000 births, according to the most recent CDC mortality report.

While the new life expectancy only marks a 0.1 year increase from 2011, it’s much longer than the average life expectancy of an American born in the 1930s. Back then, people were only expected to live 59.7 years. In the past 150 years, life expectancy has doubled, ensuring that medical assistants will have plenty of work to do for years to come.

1Mortality in the United States, 2012. (2014, October 8). Retrieved October 10, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db168.htm

2World Health Statistics 2014. (n.d.). Retrieved October 10, 2014, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/world-health-statistics-2014/en/

3Country Comparison :: Life expectancy at birth. (n.d.). Retrieved October 10, 2014, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2102rank.html

4Spitzer, K. (n.d.). Longevity Secrets From Japan – How to Live Longer – AARP. Retrieved October 10, 2014, from http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2014/longevity-secrets-from-japan.html

5Which factors determine our quality of life, health and ability? Results from a Danish population sample and the Copenhagen perinatal cohort. (n.d.). Retrieved October 10, 2014, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18760073

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