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If no medical assistance and fitness was applied.................

ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 44,769 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 44,769 Member
How long would the average life span be? I posted on something about this awhile back. If we look at it objectively, our hormones start peaking from teens to about 30 years on average. Girls can procreate in their teens and many males are somewhat more fit in their teens and 20's than after.
And if you look back well before agriculture, it was the young that were doing all the physcial work, hunting, etc.
By the time we hit 40, eyesight starts to diminish, you physically start slowing down, joints start to wear, etc. It's why IMO I believe that the average human likely doesn't live beyond 60 years old, but medical science has obviously prolonged lifespans.
Would like to hear opinions on this because I've always been fascinated on human anatomy and physiology.

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  • goal06082021goal06082021 Member Posts: 807 Member Member Posts: 807 Member
    I make no claims whatsoever as to the historical accuracy of this, but I'm reading The Name of the Rose right now which is a story set in the 14th century, and there are characters with ages given in the 50-60 year range described as being quite old. Again, I don't know if Umberto Eco was trying to be in any way historically accurate about life expectancy in his monastery murder mystery written in 1980, but there's a data point for you.
  • nooshi713nooshi713 Member Posts: 4,392 Member Member Posts: 4,392 Member
    A lot of people would die young without medical help nowadays. There are tons of diabetics in this country and people on dialysis who would pass away quickly. Medical advances have allowed sickly people to live longer and pass on their genes.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 44,769 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 44,769 Member
    nooshi713 wrote: »
    A lot of people would die young without medical help nowadays. There are tons of diabetics in this country and people on dialysis who would pass away quickly. Medical advances have allowed sickly people to live longer and pass on their genes.
    Which then begs the question: Do people start looking at their mates medical history more definitively if they want to have offspring with lower chances of disease or propensity for it? And while it sounds unethical, there's so much research going on now with the attempt to remove genes from hereditary maladies that can cause disease risk. Crazy how far we've advanced in 100 years.
    If you've never seen the movie Gattaca, check it out.


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    edited February 27
  • SnifterPugSnifterPug Member Posts: 590 Member Member Posts: 590 Member
    According to the Bible (Psalm 90) the lifespan of man is said to be threescore years and ten.

    "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away."

    Which is 70 years. According to this (no idea of accuracy):
    https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/parallel/paral18.cfm
    Psalm 90 was probably composed in 1489.

    So even back then the age of 70 was not unusual, and 80 was certainly attainable.
  • ahoy_m8ahoy_m8 Member Posts: 2,303 Member Member Posts: 2,303 Member
    So, one of the things I read recently that was dealing with history was that while the AVERAGE lifespan was quite low in the medieval period (which of course had some medical assistance, though not to modern standards) that those numbers skew low not because you were old at 30 or 40, but because of the high infant and child mortality rates. But that once out of childhood and removing accident/severe injury people still lived about as long as they do today (70-80, with some outliers), which makes sense to me.

    Agreeing with this. There's evidence from ancient Greece that lifespans into 70's-80's where not uncommon **IF** one survived childhood. Childhood mortality brought the average down considerably. Something like 20-25% died before age 20?

    I understand the question you are getting at, and if you asked about average life expectancy among those who make it to 20, I would guess modern obesity rates would lower life expectancy without medical intervention compared to pre-1970's (when rate of obesity increase rose sharply) and maybe 100's of years before that, too.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 44,769 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 44,769 Member
    33gail33 wrote: »
    Pretty sure that childhood and maternal mortality in the past is what accounted for most of the lower average life expectancy. Once you were out of childhood (and for women past childbearing I guess) you had a pretty good chance of living to be elderly.
    Well again we're taking into consideration that there was some medical intervention. But what if there wasn't any? A simple infection could easily kill someone off or what if they got the measles or flu with no medical help?
    As amazing as the human body is, we're still pretty susceptible like any other animal to disease and injury. If not for medical intervention, our current population would likely be half of what it is now around the world.

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  • wunderkindkingwunderkindking Member Posts: 340 Member Member Posts: 340 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    33gail33 wrote: »
    Pretty sure that childhood and maternal mortality in the past is what accounted for most of the lower average life expectancy. Once you were out of childhood (and for women past childbearing I guess) you had a pretty good chance of living to be elderly.
    Well again we're taking into consideration that there was some medical intervention. But what if there wasn't any? A simple infection could easily kill someone off or what if they got the measles or flu with no medical help?
    As amazing as the human body is, we're still pretty susceptible like any other animal to disease and injury. If not for medical intervention, our current population would likely be half of what it is now around the world.

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    The thing is, these are, were, and have been mostly things that kill children and the elderly - even today. Medical care keeps more of those folks alive but again if you survived them as a child, you grew some immunity (to some things) or survived and lived on. So it was STILL mostly killing off people in youth (lowering the AVERAGE but not the median) or the elderly (affecting neither much)

    Human lifespan even with medical intervention has not changed all that much. The things that killed us then, kill us now -- cancers, heart attacks, diabetes, serious infections, heart attacks and accidents - they just do so LESS OFTEN because of medical intervention.

    But my grandma died of a UTI. A simple infection.

    It just happens less in childhood - changing the average lifespan, but not hte median - but once you hit old, you're frail no matter what. Old then is old now. Elderly and fragile then are elderly and fragile now. Changing individual outcomes for individuals doesn't change those things.

    But yes, medical intervention HAS lowered the incidence of death in childbearing and young childhood.
  • Speakeasy76Speakeasy76 Member Posts: 453 Member Member Posts: 453 Member
    nooshi713 wrote: »
    A lot of people would die young without medical help nowadays. There are tons of diabetics in this country and people on dialysis who would pass away quickly. Medical advances have allowed sickly people to live longer and pass on their genes.

    Thankfully for me, medical advances literally saved my life when I was born, and it's possible they saved my son (and even my daughter's) as well (born via unplanned and planned c-sections). I was born prematurely and very sick due to Rh incompatability, something that is purely influenced by the mother's blood-type interacting negatively with the fetus'. However, I am not and never was a sickly person, and in fact rarely get sick. Yeah, I have some allergies and digestive issues, but nothing life-threatening.

    Fitness in and of itself probably wouldn't have prolonged my dad's life (if he hadn't of already been active), and in fact pushing himself too hard could've caused him to die younger. He died from a type A aortic dissection, which is largely hereditary--the same thing that John Ritter and Alan Thicke died from. We didn't know he had this until he died quite suddenly and unexpectedly from it, and didn't have the risk factors that often can cause it (high blood pressure, for example). In fact, his doctor had called him "the healthiest 65-year old he had ever seen" 9 months prior to his death. It's possible stress could've brought this on sooner, but things were stressful in the past...just a different kind of stress.

    I'm grateful for medical interventions not only for my own life as a newborn, but to hopefully prolong mine, as I'm also at risk for an aortic dissection as well. In fact, I may have to even curtail my more strenuous activity at some point (e.g, heavy lifting), as aortic dissections can happen with extreme exertion in those who are prone to them.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 44,769 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 44,769 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    33gail33 wrote: »
    Pretty sure that childhood and maternal mortality in the past is what accounted for most of the lower average life expectancy. Once you were out of childhood (and for women past childbearing I guess) you had a pretty good chance of living to be elderly.
    Well again we're taking into consideration that there was some medical intervention. But what if there wasn't any? A simple infection could easily kill someone off or what if they got the measles or flu with no medical help?
    As amazing as the human body is, we're still pretty susceptible like any other animal to disease and injury. If not for medical intervention, our current population would likely be half of what it is now around the world.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
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    The thing is, these are, were, and have been mostly things that kill children and the elderly - even today. Medical care keeps more of those folks alive but again if you survived them as a child, you grew some immunity (to some things) or survived and lived on. So it was STILL mostly killing off people in youth (lowering the AVERAGE but not the median) or the elderly (affecting neither much)

    Human lifespan even with medical intervention has not changed all that much. The things that killed us then, kill us now -- cancers, heart attacks, diabetes, serious infections, heart attacks and accidents - they just do so LESS OFTEN because of medical intervention.

    But my grandma died of a UTI. A simple infection.

    It just happens less in childhood - changing the average lifespan, but not hte median - but once you hit old, you're frail no matter what. Old then is old now. Elderly and fragile then are elderly and fragile now. Changing individual outcomes for individuals doesn't change those things.

    But yes, medical intervention HAS lowered the incidence of death in childbearing and young childhood.
    I agree in age, but as to the health of an individual I believe age is irrelevant because I know many other elder individuals who are healthier, stronger and more resilient than people half their age today. What we know about the body now compared to say the early 1800's and how we can enhance lifespan through exercise, good eating habits and rest surely extended average life span after childhood.


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  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 44,769 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 44,769 Member
    Also I highly doubt all our gyms come close to competing with the fitness required to live the life of a medieval peasant.
    No doubt they struggled hard and worked physically, but they also could have been undernourished. As well as suffered from issues we can fix today like oral health. Isn't this an interesting subject?


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  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 44,769 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 44,769 Member
    nooshi713 wrote: »
    A lot of people would die young without medical help nowadays. There are tons of diabetics in this country and people on dialysis who would pass away quickly. Medical advances have allowed sickly people to live longer and pass on their genes.

    Thankfully for me, medical advances literally saved my life when I was born, and it's possible they saved my son (and even my daughter's) as well (born via unplanned and planned c-sections). I was born prematurely and very sick due to Rh incompatability, something that is purely influenced by the mother's blood-type interacting negatively with the fetus'. However, I am not and never was a sickly person, and in fact rarely get sick. Yeah, I have some allergies and digestive issues, but nothing life-threatening.

    Fitness in and of itself probably wouldn't have prolonged my dad's life (if he hadn't of already been active), and in fact pushing himself too hard could've caused him to die younger. He died from a type A aortic dissection, which is largely hereditary--the same thing that John Ritter and Alan Thicke died from. We didn't know he had this until he died quite suddenly and unexpectedly from it, and didn't have the risk factors that often can cause it (high blood pressure, for example). In fact, his doctor had called him "the healthiest 65-year old he had ever seen" 9 months prior to his death. It's possible stress could've brought this on sooner, but things were stressful in the past...just a different kind of stress.

    I'm grateful for medical interventions not only for my own life as a newborn, but to hopefully prolong mine, as I'm also at risk for an aortic dissection as well. In fact, I may have to even curtail my more strenuous activity at some point (e.g, heavy lifting), as aortic dissections can happen with extreme exertion in those who are prone to them.
    Just think now too that women who may be high risk for breast cancer due to heredity have the option to have them removed if they fear it could happen to them. Imagine if you didn't have that option. You'd stress out everyday wondering if and when you might get breast cancer. Even if you did all the right things with your health tto lower risk.


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  • nooshi713nooshi713 Member Posts: 4,392 Member Member Posts: 4,392 Member
    nooshi713 wrote: »
    A lot of people would die young without medical help nowadays. There are tons of diabetics in this country and people on dialysis who would pass away quickly. Medical advances have allowed sickly people to live longer and pass on their genes.

    Thankfully for me, medical advances literally saved my life when I was born, and it's possible they saved my son (and even my daughter's) as well (born via unplanned and planned c-sections). I was born prematurely and very sick due to Rh incompatability, something that is purely influenced by the mother's blood-type interacting negatively with the fetus'. However, I am not and never was a sickly person, and in fact rarely get sick. Yeah, I have some allergies and digestive issues, but nothing life-threatening.

    Fitness in and of itself probably wouldn't have prolonged my dad's life (if he hadn't of already been active), and in fact pushing himself too hard could've caused him to die younger. He died from a type A aortic dissection, which is largely hereditary--the same thing that John Ritter and Alan Thicke died from. We didn't know he had this until he died quite suddenly and unexpectedly from it, and didn't have the risk factors that often can cause it (high blood pressure, for example). In fact, his doctor had called him "the healthiest 65-year old he had ever seen" 9 months prior to his death. It's possible stress could've brought this on sooner, but things were stressful in the past...just a different kind of stress.

    I'm grateful for medical interventions not only for my own life as a newborn, but to hopefully prolong mine, as I'm also at risk for an aortic dissection as well. In fact, I may have to even curtail my more strenuous activity at some point (e.g, heavy lifting), as aortic dissections can happen with extreme exertion in those who are prone to them.

    I should have mentioned in my original post that prenatal care and medical advances dealing with childbirth and also antibiotics and vaccines have played a big role as well. I am also grateful that these medical advances exist.
  • ythannahythannah Member Posts: 3,660 Member Member Posts: 3,660 Member
    My grandmother's brother died of pneumonia as a young man in the early 1920s. The outcome would probably be different today.

    I have idiopathic hypertension and have been on blood pressure medications to control it since my mid-30s, I'm now 57. Who knows what my lifespan would be with uncontrolled hypertension, or if I'd even still be alive right now?

    I'm a firm believer in the "use it or lose it" philosophy though. The elderly people I see maintaining function are the ones who have kept moving and doing (barring serious conditions that curtail activity level). The ones who kind of give up and adopt a sedentary lifestyle tend to lose functional ability. My father is a great example of this, he became so sedentary that he lost muscle, had less ability to move so moved less and lost more muscle. and ended up in a rehab hospital for 5.5 months while they built him back up again. The day he was admitted to hospital he couldn't even turn his head to look out the window.
  • corinasue1143corinasue1143 Member Posts: 5,056 Member Member Posts: 5,056 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    So, one of the things I read recently that was dealing with history was that while the AVERAGE lifespan was quite low in the medieval period (which of course had some medical assistance, though not to modern standards) that those numbers skew low not because you were old at 30 or 40, but because of the high infant and child mortality rates. But that once out of childhood and removing accident/severe injury people still lived about as long as they do today (70-80, with some outliers), which makes sense to me.

    Because yeah, you can't do heavy farm when you're 65 very well but YOU HAVE ADULT CHILDREN living with and caring for you/ensuring you eat - and those multi-generational families living together were typical until very recent historically-- and is still typical in a whole lot of the world.

    So less about medicine and more about community/family caring for the elders.

    Of course we now have more medical options for disease/accident/industry and relatively less dangerous lives but the basic human body breaking down in catastrophic ways hasn't really changed in quite a long (very long) time.

    I spent my HS years in farm county. There were many older farmers who were strong as hell and could work with anyone.

    Me, too.
    My father-in-law was in his 80s and still working. About 30 years ago.
    Our first hired hand was in his 80s. He told us the first day he would only work 8 hours a day, no matter how far behind we were. About 50 years ago.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 44,769 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 44,769 Member
    That's that "country strong" mentality. Had this kid one time who wasn't great at weight lifting, but one time I watch him hand bale hay. At 50lbs per bale he handled it like it was styrofoam. Amazing.

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  • ccrdragonccrdragon Member Posts: 2,908 Member Member Posts: 2,908 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    So, one of the things I read recently that was dealing with history was that while the AVERAGE lifespan was quite low in the medieval period (which of course had some medical assistance, though not to modern standards) that those numbers skew low not because you were old at 30 or 40, but because of the high infant and child mortality rates. But that once out of childhood and removing accident/severe injury people still lived about as long as they do today (70-80, with some outliers), which makes sense to me.

    Because yeah, you can't do heavy farm when you're 65 very well but YOU HAVE ADULT CHILDREN living with and caring for you/ensuring you eat - and those multi-generational families living together were typical until very recent historically-- and is still typical in a whole lot of the world.

    So less about medicine and more about community/family caring for the elders.

    Of course we now have more medical options for disease/accident/industry and relatively less dangerous lives but the basic human body breaking down in catastrophic ways hasn't really changed in quite a long (very long) time.

    I spent my HS years in farm county. There were many older farmers who were strong as hell and could work with anyone.

    Gotta give another aree to this - my grandparents on my father's side were farmers and actively worked the farm well into their 80's before giving it up. What finally took my grandfather down was years of badly managed HPB - his fault really since he only took his meds randomly. He was otherwise strong, physically active and mentally alert right up to the day the stroke got him.
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