What is your life expectancy? | PostIndependent.com

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What is your life expectancy?

There is no getting around it, we are getting older. Like it or not, Father Time is pushing us forward, so we may as well make the best of it. Therefore, aging is going to be far easier if our health is good.

According to the Social Security Administration, if you're a male in your 40s right now, your life expectancy may be 82 years old. However, if you're a female in your 40s right now, your life expectancy may be 85.4 years old. For people in your 50s, the estimate raises a bit — 4 months or so — and for people in your 60s, the average is north of 84. This means that for those of us in these age groups, we may have passed the halfway mark already.

the next 20-40 years

Accepting that time is not within our control may be hard to do. However, accepting that the ills that come as we age are definite and assured to happen is unfounded — it's just not so.

How we live today will have an effect on our lives down the road. Even though we may have made, and possibly still are making, some unhealthy lifestyle choices, making small changes in how we now live and eat can greatly affect our health outcomes in the future.

For many of us that live in the mountains of Colorado — we're in shape. Look around; for the most part we are not a community of chronic TV watchers, fast food mongers and soda-gulping junkies. We are mostly active. We are health conscious. Many of us celebrate and laugh while we break bread with our friends. As a matter of fact, many of us look forward to being like some of the 60-, 70-, and 80-year-olds here in town who can athletically keep up and/or "school" many of us 10 and 20 years their junior.

get with the program

If it is important to you that you continue enjoying skiing, snowboarding, biking and running while you enter your 80s and 90s, you need to get with the program.

One of the first steps to ensuring you will lead the life you want is to know your numbers. I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, and I am begging you to act on what know you've been delaying: Get to the doctor.

Get your blood work done and take an interest in the results. The results are absolute and not up for conjecture. They will tell you if you already have, or more importantly, if you will have:

High blood sugar: which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve issues

High blood pressure: lets you know if you are currently or may become at risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia (yes, dementia), and kidney failure

High cholesterol: can lead many health problems including a heart attack or stroke.

If you knew eating the next candy bar would guarantee you would die within a few years, would you eat it? I hope not. Bettering your chances of living a healthier and more active life does not mean you have to make radical changes to your routines, habits or finances. More often than not, it's just a question of prioritizing what's really important.

Here are some steps you can take to improve your health at any age:

• Focus on yourself by eating healthily and staying active

• Learn about your risk indicators by getting your blood checked regularly

• Be proactive and don't rely on western medicine to cure something you can help keep from even becoming an issue in the first place.

There will always be people to offer up their opinions and advice. Ultimately, however, it's we, and we alone, that have to live with the consequences of our decisions. Make a good decision and collaborate with your health care provider if think you may be at risk of a health issue.

Go live. Smoke that stogie, savor that brandy and bourbon, relish the fine food — just do it in moderation.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Garfield and Pitkin counties. His contact information is http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns, 970-328-5526.