Modern medicine has increased life expectancy: in the last 100 years, global life expectancy has more than doubled. However, this has not necessarily been accompanied by an equivalent increase in healthy life expectancy. People are living longer, but many of those years are plagued by chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. This is where it's important to understand the difference between life expectancy and health.
Life expectancy is the total number of years we live, while health expectancy is how many of those years we remain healthy and free of disease. Health is a relevant topic for all people with enormous social and economic consequences all over the world. Aging in a healthy way requires developing and maintaining the functional capacity necessary to ensure well-being in the last decades of life. On the contrary, other pollution and socio-environmental factors require more large-scale initiatives to affect health.
Fatty acids, energy “coins” such as glucose and oxygen, and antioxidants such as NAD+ have been shown to influence the health of various tissues and their stem cells in many different species. However, age-related illnesses and injuries persist, affecting health during the last years of life. Rather than addressing each disease individually, geroscience studies the fundamental mechanisms of aging, such as chronic inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and cellular senescence (old, damaged cells that cannot divide properly) to promote health. This means that we have incredible power and control over our health to prevent chronic diseases and increase our longevity.
While extending your life expectancy may add years to your life, extending your period of health will help you enjoy and stay active in those later years. Recent research on life expectancy explores how to maintain this good health and quality of life and, at the same time, prolong life expectancy. Many might agree that “the duration of health” can be defined as the period of life in which a person is healthy. It incorporates nutritional and lifestyle regimens into its treatment recommendations to improve healthy gene expression and promote natural and lasting beauty from within.
Consult the World Health Organization and other Internet sources, such as PubMed, for more comprehensive information on health trends in other countries.