With the increase of scientific knowledge in the past few centuries, and even more so in the last century, the general health and well-being of the human population, and indeed, the population itself, has increased.
Much of this can be attributed to how much more aware we are of how things affect our bodies and our health.
For example, we learned how keeping active is good for our hearts and how eating the right foods helps the body function properly and maintain itself.
We also know how to treat illnesses and injuries more effectively, which means as people grow older they are doing so with fewer chronic ailments.
Advances in science have truly accelerated in the last century and a half, particularly in medicine. Indeed, we’ve learned more in the last 50-60 years about maintaining our bodies than we did in the hundred years before that and our life spans have increased accordingly.
It’s like a car. As long as the individual parts are kept in good working order, the whole vehicle will function well.
However, unlike a car, the human body does not easily accept replacement parts when something breaks. Better maintenance of our “vehicles” is the thus our best option for longevity.
Many scientists now believe that the first person who will reach 150 years of age has already been born. When we consider the constant stream of new discoveries being made almost daily in medicine, healthcare and the applied sciences, this belief seems quite credible.
Today, average life expectancy worldwide is around 73-76 years old, and the number of octogenarians (people over the age of 80) is increasing year by year. This number is expected to increase even more drastically as the baby boomers reach their golden years.
For this reason, geriatric medicine has become a hot topic. As more members of the population enter old age and very old age, society needs to know how to take care of them.
It is just a matter of time until cures for cancer and heart disease appear on the horizon. By then we will need to be much better at improving the ways in which we look after our elderly and ensure their wellbeing in those ever-lengthening twilight years.
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