What if you could go beyond your life expectancy? Say you're a male with a life expectancy of 80 and you had the option to receive medical treatments that repair biological ageing.
With this treatment you will grow in years but avoid the morbid suffering of age-related diseases like heart disease, cancer, neurological disorders, macular degeneration, and osteoporosis. With this treatment you will live much longer than you would without it, and you will be healthy. Will you have it? I think probably you will once you get past the fear of living longer.
Consider the first modern census conducted circa 1871 in the United Kingdom. The life expectancy of men was 44. Would they have said "yes", or "no", to the treatments of age-related disease that, significantly, brought men's life expectancy to 81.6 years in 2016? The writing is on the wall. They did say yes despite not knowing how society will look in the future. However, the next leap forward in lifespan is likely not solving age-related disease. It is likely a leap that solves the disease's underlying cause: biological ageing. A solution that greatly increases both lifespan and health span. Consider the work of biologist Aubrey De Grey, Phd. (1) (2)(3)
We're not there yet, but it is on the horizon.
In the existing landscape, without this revolutionary treatment, there are two variables that determine an individual's ability to live beyond the cold statistics of life expectancy:
70% Lifestyle and Environment (source)
Only lifestyle and environment are in a person's control - although gene expression does change with lifestyle and environment choices - it is a set gene sequence and unique in each individual.
Otherwise, medical treatment of disease, as age-related disease inevitably arises, extends lifespan but does not solve the underlying problem of biological aging that causes age-related disease. Which leaves one with the nasty case of biological ageing increasing to morbidity until disease cannot be treated and causes death.
The Future: 'Treat the Cause' - Biological Ageing Treatments
The distance beyond current life expectancy is theoretically infinite if the process of biological ageing can be repeatedly repaired by treatment. Such a treatment would also sustain health infinitely at a state we normally associate with earlier chronological age. Essentially it solves age-related disease by addressing the underlying cause: biological ageing. People will die, but from different causes, and in a different lifespan.
The important questions are: When are the treatments going to be available in medicine? And, is our society willing to implement treatments that greatly extend healthy lifespan? And, lastly, is it economically feasible?
Answers to these questions are increasingly becoming feasible as the credibility of Biogerontology and it's extended life enthusiasts in Biomedical Gerontology increases. As is the funding.
In any event, until a viable biological ageing treatment is available to individuals those questions are moot.
The Current Methods to Increase Lifespan and Compress Morbidity
As it stands, in order to increase the probability of going beyond life expectancy and compressing morbidity before death an individual can only control:
(1) lifestyle choices,
(2) environment location, and
(3) accessing age-related disease treatments.
Thus, until the landscape changes and treatments for biological ageing are available the ideal path is for each individual to have a medical assessment done that analyzes their gene sequence for inherited susceptibility to disease and then have personalized advice on implementing the best choices within the three areas stated above: lifestyle, environment, and disease treatment.
In the event you cannot attain a medical assessment of your genes, which is likely true for 99.9% of the world's population, then you must become your own expert. Start with looking at your expected life expectancy (here), and the age-related diseases you want to avoid (here). That should get the ball rolling, and you'll be more inclined to address the three variables above. In the future, Praktis & Bloom will explore these three variables and provide viable information so stay tuned, and sign up for updates.