Aging Facts
Aging Facts

68 Interesting Facts about Aging

By Nathan James, Associate Writer
Published November 26, 2019
  • Studies have found that most people feel their happiest or feel their happiness increase in the later decades of life—from their 60s to their early 80s.[6]
  • Over the past 100 years, both boys and girls have been, on average, hitting puberty two years earlier than their parents and grandparent did.[5]
  • Between 2015 and 2050, the number of people older than 65 will rise from 900 million to 2 billion, a jump from 12% to 22% of the total world population.[1]
  • Certain parts of the body age faster than others; for example, even healthy breast tissue can be as much as three years older than the rest of a woman’s body.[3]
  • The study of human aging is called gerontology.[18]
  • Senescence is the decline of biological functions and of the ability to adapt to metabolic stress—essentially the physical characteristics of growing older.[18]
  • The main causes of death in older age are heart disease, stroke, and chronic lung disease.[1]
  • The strongest factors influencing the health of older people have to do with a person’s history of physical and social environments rather than genetics.[1]
  • Chronological age is a measure of the years a person has lived, but a person’s age can also be determined through a measure of the rate at which their cells are aging and dying and is called a person’s biological age.[3]
  • The oldest a person has ever been recorded to have lived was Jeanne Louise Calment of France. Born in 1875, Calment lived to be 122 years, 164 days old.[22]
  • Ancient Pine Tree
    Trees like this one are nearly as old as written language
  • The oldest individual tree in the world is a 5,066 year-old Great Basin bristlecone pine located in the White Mountains of California.[9]
  • According to one study, older people are better at navigating social dilemmas and conflicts.[6]
  • At age 93, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is the world’s oldest living monarch.[9]
  • The dog known to have lived the longest was an Australian cattle dog. Bluey lived for 29 years and five months—that’s over 109 years old in human years.[9]
  • Cataracts in the eyes, which is most common in older people, is the foremost cause of blindness worldwide, due to lack of proper vision care for the senior population.[10]
  • Biological aging is caused by the death of cells; when cells become too damaged, a piece of DNA called a telomere signals to the cell that it can no longer produce, and the cell dies.[11]
  • Although teenage drivers pose the greatest risk of traffic accidents that cause harm to others, drivers 85 years old and above are at the greatest risk of driving accidents that result in their own fatalities.[10]
  • Although Okinawans have a genetic makeup that allows them to live longer lives, on average, than the rest of the world, Okinawans who have moved away from Okinawa, Japan, lose their longevity, indicating that lifestyle and environment play a large role in how people age.[21]
  • Okinawa Aging Facts
    Location, location, location

  • For most of history, the ailments of old age were considered irreversible, and little was done to investigate the diseases and health problems of the aging population; it wasn’t until after the 1960s, when the older population began to increase, that medical scientists began to investigate within the field of geriatrics.[8]
  • One study indicates that women are 37% more likely than their male counterparts to lose lower limb function as they age.[10]
  • The bowhead or arctic whale is the world’s longest-living mammal—some whales have been discovered with 200-year-old spearheads in their flesh, the result of whalers trying to catch them centuries ago.[15]
  • A type of immobile sponge that lives on the bottom of the ocean floor has been found to be capable of living for over 1550 years.[15]
  • Thanks to the internet, counterfeiters have been able to sneak false anti-aging products into the US market; many of these contain substances such as arsenic, aluminum, and even urine.[17]
  • Over 90% of cases of “elder abuse,” abuse of senior citizens, are committed by the person’s own family members, most predominantly their own children.[23]
  • In Britain, the ruling monarch sends a celebratory card to all citizens who turn 100; they also receive a card at age 105 and every year thereafter.[13]
  • Aging Fact Clam
    There are clams in the ocean that have been alive since the Mayflower sailed
  • The ocean quahog is a type of clam that has been found to be able to live for more than 400 years.[15]
  • The turritopsis nutricula jellyfish is capable of going from an adult jellyfish stage back into an immature polyp stage, meaning that these creatures essentially bypass death over and over as they cycle from old age back to youth.[15]
  • A common scam perpetrated on the elderly occurs when con artists attend funerals of strangers and tell the widow or widower that their deceased spouse owed them money.[23]
  • The age of puberty can be affected by the amount of calories a child consumes; a child who has a calorie-rich diet leading to obesity will most likely experience puberty earlier than other children their age.[5]
  • A fraudulent company in Arizona provided fake Botox treatment to customers seeking to reduce age-related facial wrinkles. The company made a profit of over $1.5 million before being caught.[23]
  • In general, people over 65 report experiencing less stress in comparison to people between 25 and 49—even if they still have to struggle with the same stressors.[6]
  • Due to their familiarity with over-the-phone purchasing, as opposed to internet purchasing, older people make twice as many purchases over the telephone than the national average, making them primary targets for telemarketing scams.[23]
  • Precocious puberty is a condition in which children experience rapid growth spurts and other signs of puberty at a very early age; some begin the stage of puberty as early as three years old.[5]
  • Aging Charlie Parker
    Parker's career as one of the best jazz musicians ever to play was cut short by drug and alcohol abuse
  • Famous jazz musician Charlie Parker died at age 34, but his body was so aged due to years of drug and alcohol abuse that the coroner estimated his biological age to have been around 55 years old.[4]
  • Some children can experience early puberty as a result of divorce and re-marriage in their household—the stress of parents splitting can provoke an increase of hormones, and the introduction of a new parent means the introduction of new pheremones, both of which result in early puberty.[5]
  • The age at which puberty occurs has been shown to be linked to the exposure of children to sexual content in television; such content can trigger hormones that cause children to experience puberty at younger ages than is normal.[5]
  • Women are more likely to suffer from cognitive impairment as they age if they had a lifestyle dependent on others for everyday tasks and lack a strong social network.[20]
  • Osteoperosis, a disease in which bones lose density and easily fracture, is an ailment frequently experienced by the aging, and especially by aging women. Fifty percent of all women over 50 will likely experience an osteoporosis-related fracture during their older lives.[8]
  • In the early 1900s, sex glands from animals were transplanted into human males in an effort to rejuvenate their sex hormones, but these experimental efforts did not work.[18]
  • A prominent scam that takes advantage of older people is the grandparent scam. A caller pretends to be the victim’s grandchild by asking the grandparent to guess which grandchild they are speaking to. After the grandparent guesses a name, the scammer pretends to be that person and convinces the aging victim to wire them money.[23]
  • Studies have linked early puberty to an increase in sexual activity, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, as well as some forms of reproductive cancer.[5]
  • Old Age Happiness
    Getting old doesn't have to be a bad thing
  • Research indicates that having a positive attitude about aging actually contributes to living a longer life.[19]
  • People who are active in seeking to accomplish their hopes and aspirations throughout their lives are less likely to experience a midlife crisis.[16]
  • Around half of all people age 85 or older experience some form of dementia.[14]
  • Around 10% of men and women experience a midlife crisis, a stage between the ages of 35 and 55 when a person suddenly realizes that they are getting older, have many regrets, and haven’t accomplished what they had hoped to.[16]
  • Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause, is the result of brain cells losing connections with other brain cells and dying, causing a person to lose cognitive functions such as memory and reasoning and often resulting in a change in personality.[14]
  • Women are more likely than men to live longer than 100 years.[20]
  • Men who are overweight, suffer from diabetes, or have had a stroke are more likely to experience cognitive problems as they age.[20]
  • Senescence is the decline of biological functions and of the ability to adapt to metabolic stress—essentially the physical characteristics of growing older.[18]
  • Fifty percent of people age 85 or older develop color vision abnormalities, most commonly a failure to see differences between blue and purple as well as yellow versus green. This is distinctly different from what is commonly known as color blindness, where red and green rather than blue and yellow are the difficult colors.[24]
  • Sexual activity decreases with age; married 20-year-olds have sex an average four times per week, as compared to married 60-year-olds, who have sex once per week.[18]
  • Fertility in women decreases over the age of 35 because a woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have, and those eggs age along with the woman.[12]
  • Almost everywhere in the world, women live longer than men. In the United States, the average life expectancy for women is 81.1 years, whereas for men it is 76.1.[20]
  • Women Aging
    From generation to generation

  • The first census in Britain in 1801 didn’t ask people to list their ages; this didn’t become a mandatory question until 50 years later.[13]
  • Taste buds die and do not regenerate as we age.[18]
  • Researchers have identified five “blue zones” in the world, where people are, on average, living longer than the rest of the world. The blue zones are: Sardinia, an Italian isle; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; and Ikaria, an island in Greece.[21]
  • Studies have shown that people who live longer also have a greater amount of sex hormones (DHEA and either estrogen or testosterone).[21]
  • The average lifespan of an individual living in ancient Greek and Roman eras has been estimated to have been only 25 to 30 years.[2]
  • Birthday Facts
    The celebration of birthdays is a relatively recent phenomenon
  • It wasn’t common practice to note the dates of birth, and therefore for people to celebrate birthdays, in most places until the 19th century.[13]
  • Between the 16th and the 19th centuries in Europe, the average person lived between 30 to 40 years.[2]
  • Some researchers predict that the average lifespan of individuals in the United States will most likely drop soon, due to health problems caused by wide-spread obesity.[2]
  • Ways to prevent age-related diseases include eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, and avoiding stress.[2]
  • The official, original name of the “Happy Birthday” song was actually “Good Morning to You.” The song is copyrighted until 2030.[13]
  • Birthday cards that play a song when opened actually use more computational power than was used to send man to the moon.[13]
  • A quarter of Americans between the ages of 65–74 are classified as blind. Over half of people in the same age group are deaf.[18]
  • In the 19th and early 20th centuries, a common 21st birthday gift was to send the person to have all their teeth removed and replaced with dentures.[13]
  • When she turned eight, Shirley Temple received 135,000 birthday gifts.[13]
  • Eccentric exercise (movements that lengthen the muscles rather than contracting them) can help reduce and even reverse signs of aging and can keep people looking and feeling younger longer.[7]
References

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