How long can humans live?
A 2016 study published in the leading journal Nature claimed that we have a "maximum limit" on our life span...
Researchers analyzed data from around the world and found that survival declined after age 100. Then, using these demographic data, they pinned 115 years as the natural limit of human aging.
As they point out, no one has beaten the record of the world's longest-living person since Jeanne Calment died at age 122 in 1997.
Of course, this isn't the first time scientists have made a prediction that humans can't live longer than a certain age...
In 1928, a researcher used U.S. life-table data to predict that humans around the world could only have a life expectancy of up to 64.75 years... At the time, U.S. life expectancy was about 57 years. But he didn't realize that this upper limit had already been surpassed – in New Zealand, women already had a life expectancy of about 66 years of age.
Then in 1990... another researcher asserted that life expectancy should not exceed an additional 35 years after turning 50 – capping maximum life expectancy at 85. This level was surpassed by Japanese females in 1996.
In fact, according to a research article in Science magazine, the typical maximum life expectancy prediction has been broken, on average, five years after publication.
Today, the fastest-growing segment of the population in developing countries is folks aged 85 or older, according to the National Institutes of Health. Experts project this segment to grow more than 350% between 2010 and 2050.
According to the National Institute on Aging, the number of people who make it past the age of 100 will keep increasing. It expects this number to rise by more than 1,000% from today through 2050.
That's because of advancements in science. Take Valter Longo, a University of Southern California professor of gerontology (the study of the elderly). He has already upped the life spans of yeast and mice to the human equivalent of 800 and 150 years, respectively.
As medical advancements continue, that number could grow even more... even faster. Already, life expectancy is increasing by an average of three months every single year.
It's clear that improvements in the field of medicine already help us live longer, healthier lives than in decades past. That's great news in most ways. But living longer also presents a hidden problem...
You see, as you live longer, it becomes more important to preserve your nest egg... and make sure you're prepared to make it to 100... 120... or longer.
A longer life means you may need your money to last 40 to 50 years after you've retired, not just a couple of decades.
But in today's world, that's getting more difficult...
Social Security is bankrupt. In 2004, the benefits paid out began exceeding the tax revenues brought in. Worse, no actual assets support Social Security. So the government must use current cash flow to fund future liability. Imagine telling your doctor you want health care today, but you'll pay him in 20 years.
The website for the Congressional Budget Office (essentially the government's accountants) will show you page after page of tables and graphs explaining how this will all work out OK.
But the bottom line is this: In 2018, Social Security had to use its trust fund to pay benefits – for the first time since 1982. By 2034, Social Security's fund will be depleted.
And, as we've talked about a lot recently here in Health & Wealth Bulletin, the cost of living is rising and inflation is eating away at our wealth.
Health and medicine are undergoing a radical transformation that few can see and fewer understand. That's why I've enlisted a world-renowned expert on how the health care industry really works, along with a research microbiologist with experience in the world's most prestigious labs.
Trillions of dollars are changing hands. And extraordinary innovation is taking place, very quickly. And last week, we unveiled the full story...
If you haven't watched it yet, click here to see what's happening now and how it can help you live a longer, richer life – before it's too late.
Now, here are some of the things on your minds this week... Keep sending your comments, questions, and topic suggestions to [email protected]. We read every e-mail.
Q: I'm looking for a great book on stretching, and I believe you've mentioned one in the past but can't remember what it was...
Maybe it was the Bob Anderson book? Thanks! – R.M.
A: You remembered correctly: Stretching by Bob Anderson is one of the best books I've read. It has been several decades since its first edition, but the instructions are timeless and it's the best book on stretching out there. (You can purchase a copy right here.)
Stretching is a great thing to do for your body... and it's one of the best ways to ease into yoga, one of my favorite exercises.
Q: Is it true you smell burnt toast before you have a stroke? – D.B.
A: There's a popular belief that before a stroke, you'll smell something that isn't there like toast or burning hair. This is called phantosmia and, unfortunately, that telltale sign is incredibly rare.
While there are medical conditions that change your sense of smell – and can cause you to think you're smelling burnt toast – a stroke is one of the least likely. More likely is a sinus infection or a migraine. At times, it could also point to a seizure, but it's more likely that you have a minor ailment... or that you're burning your toast.
As we discussed on Tuesday, more common symptoms of a stroke include:
- Blurred vision
- Face drooping
- Loss of balance
- Speech difficulty
- Arm weakness
If you're having these symptoms, it's time to call 911.
What We're Reading...
- Did you miss it? You don't have to spend your final years in a sickbed.
- Something different: Major League Baseball is trying to get rid of its mud supplier.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
July 29, 2022