How Long Will You Live? Experts Have New Insight Into How to Determine Your Lifespan

We’ve always had the inkling that if our parents live for a long time, maybe we will, too. But with the potential for so many diseases to strike in old age (cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more), it’s very difficult to nail down exactly how long we might live. But in August 2018, a newly published study may have brought us one step closer to figuring out what our own lifespan might be.

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Do parents play a role in their children’s lifespans? | monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Your family history does play a role in your lifespan

Your genes say a lot about you. In a family with a long history of type 2 diabetes, you may be more susceptible to the disease. Those with diabetes can live a long time, but they’re at a much greater risk of complications later in life — especially with heart disease. Other diseases that typically show up later in life, such as Alzheimer’s, can play a role in lifespan too if they run in the family. Generally, those with a family history of a disease are more likely to get it than those without any history.

A 2016 study showed a link between parents’ and children’s lifespans

In 2016, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that in terms of lifespan, parents’ heart health played a significant role in the heart health of their children. Parents who lived with a healthy heart past 70 gave their children a 17% lower risk of dying at a younger age from heart complications.

However, it’s important to note that just because your parents may not have lived for very long doesn’t mean you’re doomed. Staying active and eating healthy are great ways to prolong your heart health and push that lifespan far past 70.

But now, doctors think mothers’ longevity specifically plays a major role in daughters’ lifespans

The 2016 study related parents’ heart health to children’s lifespans, but a new 2018 study zones in particularly on the mother’s longevity in relation to the daughter’s (sorry, men). The study, which involved 22,000 post-menopausal women, found that women whose mothers lived up to or longer than age 90 had a 25% increased chance of also living to at least 90.

The study also found that health-wise, the women aged well. They avoided serious diseases like diabetes and heart disease. “These women were independent and could do daily activities like bathing, walking, climbing a flight of stairs or participating in hobbies they love, like golf, without limitations,” Dr. Aladdin Shadyab, the doctor who headed the study, told Medical Daily.

It has long been assumed that lifespan had something to do with parents. But genes work in mysterious ways, and it’s been difficult to prove. However, this newest study shows an even more solid connection between how long a woman lives and her mother’s lifespan. However, genes aren’t everything. Taking care of your body through healthy eating, exercise, and caring for your mental health all play a role in whether or not you live a long, fulfilling life.

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