You are here

Life expectancy could reach 115, say scientists

Life expectancy could reach 115, say scientists
10th October 2016

People are living longer in the 21st century but a team have found that there could be a cap on human life expectancy.

Scientists based in the US have said that while life expectancy continues to increase, there is a limit to how far the average human lifespan will go to.

Scientists have estimated that in the future, the highest age people will live to will be 115 years. There is a limit to longevity because the ageing process is so complex, and in order to extend this scientists would have to pick apart DNA and genetic factors.

The findings were based on the analysis of data from the Human Mortality Database, which showed that increases in life expectancy were slowing in centenarians.

Professor Jan Vijg, a scientific researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said: "In people over 105 we make very little progress, that tells you we are most likely approaching the limit to human life.

"For the first time in history we've been able to see this, it looks like the maximum life span - this ceiling, this barrier - is about 115. It's almost impossible you'll get beyond it."

Since the late 19th century, life expectancy - especially in the Western World - has risen exponentially as a result of better living standards and lifestyles.

People are now living longer as a result of receiving vaccinations for deadly but preventable diseases, and as a result of treatments and rehabilitation for deadly diseases such as cancer and heart disease. The increase in life expectancy can be attributed to fundamental scientific research into cures and treatments for these diseases.

Currently, the average life expectancy in the UK is 81.5 years - 79.1 years for men and 82.8 years for women. In addition to this, the number of people living up to the age of 100 is increasing. The number of centenarians in the UK is 14,570, according to the Office for National Statistics, four times higher than over a decade ago.

Living longer is attributed to leading a healthy lifestyle. An individual can add years their life by consuming a healthy diet and eating nutritious meals three times a day and exercising every week - the NHS recommends 150 minutes of physical activity a week.
By adopting a healthier lifestyle and better habits - such as not smoking, drinking small amounts of alcohol or not drinking at all and cutting down on sugar - individuals are less likely to suffer with obesity. This means they are better protected from diseases - such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke - which can have an impact on life longevity.