I will list the positive and negative attributes this person has (healthwise) which should add to or subtract life expectancy. This person is a white female and 66 years old
[li]White[/li][li]Female[/li][li]Already survived to 66[/li][li]Lives in a household in the top quarter of household income, so medical care is available and affordable if she wants it[/li][li]No drug or alcohol use[/li][/ol]
[li]High school dropout[/li][li]smokes 1-2 packs of cigarettes a day[/li][li]Avoid doctors like the plague[/li][li]Aside from housework is sedentary (she walks to do housework, but never gets her heart rate up via exercise)[/li][li]Typical standard american diet[/li][/ol]
From what I’ve read, life expectancy for a female at 65 is about 20-21 more years, so about 85 or 86.
I’ve also read smoking and/or being a high school dropout will shave 10 years off life expectancy vs being a non-smoker or being a college graduate (there is some overlap here as part of the reason people with less than a high school diploma die earlier is they smoke more).
However, those figures of 10 years seem to be taken at middle age or so. I have seen some other studies saying by your 60s, life expectancy differences between smokers and non smokers is closer to 1-4 years, not 10 years. The older you get the less of an effect bad behavior is going to have on life expectancy (in general) because people dying in their 40s, 50s and 60s who lose 20+ years of life will skew the averages. The longer you live, the less life expectancy you should lose I would assume.
So what is a reasonable estimate? Will this person survive to 80?
I’ve put this person’s stats into life expectancy calculators and gotten wildly different results. I guess part of that is agenda driven science (the ones that want to promote the evils of smoking and bad diet/exercise seem to give lower estimates, the ones on financial sites that sell retirement products seem to promote higher numbers. Both are giving answers in line with their pre-existing agenda).
How is her family/emotional support system?
Purely anecdotal, but I know someone who is 84, chronic smoker/overweight/never made an effort to exercise or be healthy. Just in the last two weeks she has had two heart attacks, is in hospital now and her choices are: Go home and we’ll provide hospice care, or open heart surgery.
As I understand her decision is largely dependent on the level of support and care she can reasonably expect. I visited her on Saturday Nov 29 and on that day she had decided to go ahead with the surgery, but today I found out that she is still dithering. The determining factor seems to be who will be there to care for her.
It is difficult to say, I would find family history to be useful. Parents, Siblings, Grandparents, were they similarly situated? What was/is the outcome for them? IMHO genetics is an important factor. In some families everyone lives into their 90s regardless of other factors, in some families no one makes it past 70.
One of my step-uncles smoked Camels from age 11/12… chain smoker,lots of red meat,potatoes and lard in his diet,sedentary in his later years… Died at 98 and a half…
You never know. Nobody has a “sell-by date” stamped on the bottom of their foot. Me? I was supposed to be dead 5 years ago. shrug
You left out the most important information. How long did her grandparents live? Are her parents still alive?
Like it or not, the number one determination of this sort of guessing game about how long a person can expect to live depends mostly upon genetics. There are certainly mitigating factors that a person can deal with to shorten or extend their life, but it is mostly genetic. If your grandparents died in their 60s, as did your parents, I wouldn’t bother saving a lot for retirement. You are not going to find the magic diet and exercise that gives you an extra 20 or 30 years.
If you come from a family history of many health problems you can extend your expected life a little by staying on top of things and watching your diet, avoiding destructive habits, leading a healthy life style, but you aren’t going to extend it by much beyond the historic life spans of your family history. If you come from a long lived line you can certainly shorten your own life with destructive and unhealthy behaviors too.
It is sad but it is true. Environmental factors are only contributors to your health, they are not the determining factor.
Remember to choose your grandparents well.
I sure hope it’s mostly genetic. All four of my grandparents lived well into their 90s. So did my father. My mother survived breast cancer but died at 70 because of a heart valve that was probably damaged by an infection during her (pre-penicillin) childhood. I had a great-grandfather who lived to be over 100.
Given that my grandparents and great-grandfather were in the era before a lot of today’s medical technology, I figure that’s a sign of good genes. Oh, and my maternal grandparents both smoked.
When God says her time is up, she will die. Not until. Nothing else really plays into it.
Mortality is pretty easy to predict at a large group level, but nearly impossible at an individual level.
I’m pretty sure thats not true.