Why ‘ Healthspan ’ May Be More Important Than Lifespan

In 2014, then-57-year-old bioethicist Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel wrote an infamous essay titled, “Why I Hope to Die at 75” for The Atlantic. His argument boiled down to this: it’s not worth living as long as humanly possible if those efforts yield extra decades defined by disease and poor health, which data suggest is the fate awaiting many people in the U.S. Nearly a decade later, neither Emanuel’s mind nor the statistics have changed much. Emanuel still says he plans to stop most life-extending medical care once he reaches age 75, though he’s healthy enough that he expects to live longer naturally. And there is still a yawning gap between the average number of years someone born in the U.S. can expect to live—77.5, according to a new federal estimate for 2022—and the number of years they can expect to live in full health: 66.1, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest calculations. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Experts often refer to this chasm as the gap between “lifespan” and “healthspan.” And, increasingly, they are focusing on the latter as the right measure of longevity. “It’s great to live to 100,” says Tim Peterson, CEO of Healthspan Technologies, a startup focused on healthy aging—but less so “if you live the last 30 years in poor health.” The pandemic and rising rates of suicide and drug overdoses contributed to a rece...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized healthscienceclimate Source Type: news