Indiana Life Expectancy Gets Cut — But You Can Live Longer

January 20, 2021

Life expectancy in Indiana dropped by almost a year because of the pandemic — but there are more factors affecting the lives of its residents. Living past the state’s life expectancy shouldn’t be a problem, as long as you follow certain guidelines.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in Indiana — largely prompted or complicated by obesity. More than 65 percent of the population is overweight or obese — giving rise to higher rates of heart disease. The state has more instances of deaths related to heart problems per capita compared to the national average (183 to 165). Obesity is also associated with increased risks of developing cancer, strokes, and diabetes, and kidney problems. It is also linked to higher instances of depression that can lead to suicides.

Obesity also comes with financial costs. A study by the World Food Center of the University of California-Davis quantified that the lifetime cost of obesity exceeded $90,000 — through excess healthcare costs, prolonged hospitalizations, lower productivity, and earnings lost due to premature mortality. Eating right is the best way to avoid obesity. Smaller portions and fewer carbs can mean the difference between life and death — and keeping the weight off in your early years pays dividends when you retire.

Get Fit

Physical activity can help ward-off obesity to a certain degree — however, regular exercise does a lot more for your body. Exercising for as little as 15 minutes a day can keep your muscles and joints primed, avoiding muscular degeneration that comes with age. Along with diets rich in calcium, regular exercise can fortify your bones, limiting the risk of osteoporosis.

Active individuals are less likely to develop mobility problems as they age — decreasing the risks of accidents, as well as maintaining a good quality of life. Jog around your neighborhood or take short walks. Even a bit of gardening every day can be enough to keep you healthy. Exercising for just 15 minutes a day can reduce your chances of dying (from any cause) by 27 percent and dying from cardiovascular diseases by 32 percent.

Stop Smoking

Twenty percent of Indiana residents continue to smoke, leading to a higher instance of chronic lower respiratory disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and lung cancer. Deaths from chronic lower respiratory disease rank as the 3rd leading cause of death in the state.

The CDC states that smoking increases your risk of coronary heart disease and getting a stroke by two to four times, and lung cancer by 25 times. Most of the damage caused by smoking can be reversed just by stopping. Quitting tobacco immediately has a cleansing effect on the body. Carbon monoxide levels in the blood drop to normal within one day of quitting, while blood circulation and lung function drastically improve in just 2-3 weeks.

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Avoid Slips

Accidents rank as the 4th leading cause of death in Arizona. However, slips and falls overwhelmingly overshadow vehicular accidents when it comes to seniors. Mobility issues, vertigo, and vision problems increase the risk of falls in seniors — and a single fall can be devastating. Bones get more fragile as you age, making them more likely to fracture or break. Hip fractures from falling are not uncommon among seniors — and 1-in-3 seniors succumb to complications of the injury within a year.

Slips and falls rank as one of the primary reasons seniors enter hospice homes in Indiana, so avoiding them can also extend your independence. The majority of slips and falls occur in bathrooms, so making sure your bathroom is safe can significantly reduce the risk. Get rid of rugs and mats that can cause you to trip, and install grab bars leading to the toilet. Make sure the area around the toilet has sufficient support. Regular showers can be unsafe, so consider using walk-in tubs for bathing.

Don’t be a Shut In

Alzheimer’s ranks as the 6th leading cause of death in Indiana. While studies on the disease have yet to find its exact cause — certain factors are seen to limit or prevent its occurrence. An active mind has been seen to prevent or even reverse Alzheimer’s. Stimuli are essential, so make sure to maintain your vision and use a hearing aid if you need one. Take walks, have conversations, watch movies, or finish a puzzle or two — staying home and isolating is the worst thing you can do as it deprives your mind of new things that can keep it primed.

Certain factors limit the life expectancy in Indiana. However, avoiding these factors and following a few guidelines can keep you healthy and living longer.

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