Ageing

In a different context, I was thinking about ‘ageing’. The difference in a person’s body shape between the ages of 5 and 15 are very pronounced. In fact, the difference is even more pronounced between the ages of 0 and 2, but let is not bother about that. We could go further, and say that the difference between 15 and 25 is pronounced, but not as much as is 5 and 15. We could extend that further and say that there is a noticeable difference between 25 and 35, but minor variations could easily produce anomalies, in that it is quite possible for a person of 25 to look 35, and vice-versa. It is easy to see that it might be impossible, on first glance, to guess the age of a person who is a bit bent and has grey hair. He might be 50 0r 80. You cannot be sure. Thus, ageing does not follow a straight line – the line is curved. In the artefact of counting the number of years that a person has lived, the ageing is precise, but, as regards the changes within a person’s body, ageing is far from precise. For some individuals, the curve of ageing can be more pronounced that for others.

Further, individuals have their own curves. Some individuals are more inclined than others to suffer catastrophic illnesses. I refer to inherent problems rather than external infections. For example, an apparently healthy young woman of, say, 30 years will suffer breast cancer and die ‘before her time’. Sad though it might be, the fact is that she did not die ‘before her time’, she died precisely at her time.

But the general axiom is true – when we are young, rapid changes in our physiognomy occur, but as we age the changes slow down. I would defy anyone to say whether a person is 75, 85 or 95. There may be a big difference between them in terms of numerical years of existence, but little difference in terms of appearance or sprightliness.

Is it not therefore reasonable to say that the probability of, say, a heart attack, becomes more and more diffused as people age? The older people become, the less difference there is in health terms between them. Thus, generally speaking, a 60 year old is much the same as an 80 year old. I hope that people understand what I mean. I mean that. physiologically, an 80 year old could have the body of a 60 year old, and a 60 year old could have the body of a 80 year old in specific aspects. We ought not then be surprised that people around those ages die in a fairly random way, for random reasons.

One of the weird things about National Statistics about Mortality is the expectation that everyone might live infinitely, if it were not for some ‘disease’. No one any more just dies because their bodies are old and exhausted. All must die from a disease. That idea makes things worse since it deflects attention from ageing and transfers it to disease.

Has anyone ever seen a study on ageing? I suppose that there have been lots of them. I know of one in particular which showed that 90 year olds were as likely to have smoked as be non-smokers.

It makes no sense to assume that smoking acts like some sort of miasma which drains into certain individuals and gives them LC while dodging other smokers.

It is time that Governments rejected the Medical Profession’s and Big Pharma’s visualisation that ‘one size fits all’.

There is no such thing as ‘the standard human being’

 

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8 Responses to “Ageing”

  1. garyk30 Says:

    Rather like finger prints.
    There is neither nor average.

  2. garyk30 Says:

    One of the weird things about National Statistics about Mortality is the expectation that everyone might live infinitely”

    Seems they are not sure just how long we should live.
    When I was born, my ‘life expectancy at birth’ was 63 years.

    Now, at 72, the average age of death is 78 and i
    I might have,so it would seem, another 6 years of live.

    Yet, at 72 I am told that, on average,I might live another 13 years.

  3. garyk30 Says:

    Also, much is claimed about how people are living to an older age than before.

    There has not been so much of an actual gain.

    Over the past 500 years, average life expectancy has risen by 2.5 times.
    But, the life expectancy at age 21 has risen by only about 12%.

    Life expectancy increases with age as the individual survives the higher mortality rates associated with childhood.
    For instance, the table lists the life expectancy at birth among 13th-century English nobles at 30.

    Having survived until the age of 21, a male member of the English aristocracy in this period could expect to live:[24]

    1200–1300: to age 64
    1400–1500: to age 69
    1500–1550: to age 71

    https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4c6.html
    Period Life Table, 2011
    (expected years of life left)
    Birth
    male = 76.18
    AT age 21
    Male = +56.13 = 77.13

    • garyk30 Says:

      However, aristocracy made up a rather small portion of the total population.

      Probably only a very small part of the total population reached our age.

      In 1860, in the USA, only 2.7 percent of the population were 65 or older.

      Even now, the poor tend to live about 10 years less than the ‘average’.
      In the USA, 15 percent live at or under the poverty level.
      2/3rds of smokers are in the lower economic stratum and would be expected,just like the others in that stratum, to die 10 years sooner than average.

      • garyk30 Says:

        Smokers are only 25 percent of the lower economic stratum.

      • junican Says:

        I disagree about the spread of the ‘aristocracy’. In England, aristocratic property (mostly the land) went to the oldest male. other children had to accept what they were bequeathed or even nothing. There was a ‘regression to the mean’, by which I mean that some were able enough to profit from their ancestry while others melted into the middle classes, or even into the lower classes. Where are the progeny of Queen Victoria now? Does anyone have the foggiest idea?

  4. junican Says:

    The points you make, Gary, are valid. Extensions of average age at death very much rely upon the avoidance of infant mortality. and killer diseases in general. Since infant mortality is very small these days and most killer diseases can be cured, I would expect longevity not to increase by much. I suppose that you could look at it like the 100 metre sprint record. At first, a full second might be knocked off the record, but, as time passes, the reduction becomes smaller and smaller until you are talking about hundredths of a second. As you say, some of the stats are getting silly. If you are alive at age 72, and not ill, then you are likely to continue to live for some time yet. The average is immaterial and meaningless. Either you, an individual, will or will not continue to survive. That’s what annoys me about epidemiology. Or rather, it is not the epidemiology (which is just math and not science) but the development of ‘one size fit all’ policies when the very statistics show that there is no ‘standard human being’.

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