Medical breakthroughs, better hygiene, better sanitation and education have helped us all live longer.
Modern society is replete with examples of happy, healthy children.
Yet historically, this wasn’t always the case.
The jump in the world’s birth rate is a result of a dramatic rise in human life expectancy, sparked by advances in the treatment of disease common to different stages of life.
Infancy is the first stage, and here medicine has made huge strides. Not so long ago, it was common for children to die before they reached adolescence.
Thanks to improvements in vaccinations, general hygiene and other breakthroughs in medicine like the discovery of antibiotics, many deadly childhood diseases such as smallpox have been mostly eradicated.
Society at large knows more about good nutrition and proper health care, too.
All these elements taken together mean children live healthier, longer lives.
A child born in 1914, for example, had a one percent chance of living to 100; a child born in 2014 has a 50 percent chance of living that long.
Middle age is the second life stage, and here, many common diseases are now better understood and treated.
In the second half of the twentieth century, for example, medical science was able to develop more sophisticated ways to diagnose and treat illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Around the same time, new research pointed to ways people could further improve health, while better education got the word out. Smoking was finally seen for the killer it is, which resulted in regulations over tobacco ads and aggressive public health campaigns addressing the risks of smoking.
Today, science is examining the third life stage – old age.
Breakthroughs here are certain to produce yet another increase in human life expectancy.
Old-age diseases such as Alzheimer’s affect both the quality and length of a patient’s life. Diligent research into diseases like this mean that we’re seeing results, and elderly people are indeed living longer, healthier lives as well.
In 1950, for example, a 90-year-old man living in England had a 30 percent chance of dying within a year; today, that estimate is now 20 percent.
Improved nutrition, advanced medical technology and better sanitation are all to thank for this extension of human life.
Some powerful things in our power that we can do from today is to have regular blood work done, have genetic health reports and educate ourselves to better understand how nutrition affects us personally and our longevity.