US older folk are sicker, but they live longer than Brits, new survey finds

The elderly in the United States are sicker than older people in the UK, but they also live longer, a new study found.

Americans aged 55 and older suffer from a higher rate of chronic illness, but Brits are more likely to die younger, says research from the US’s RAND Corp.and the Institute for Fiscal Studies in Britain.

olderrunners.jpgThe findings have stirred up the long-standing debate over which country has the better health care system.

Study co-author, James Smith, an economist at RAMD said: “If you get sick at older ages, you will die sooner in England than in the United States. It appears that at least in terms of survival at older ages with chronic disease, the medical system in the United States may be better than the system in England.””

But Americans have to pay fare more than Brits for their healthcare – nearly double, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The most recent data, from 2008. shows that the America spent 16 percent their total expenditure on health, which amounted to $7,538 a person. The average health-care cost per person in OECD member nations is $3,000

Longevity expert Dr. Walter M. Bortz, author of Road Map to 100,” “Living Longer for Dummies” and a new book about health care called “Next Medicine” said: “Americans love to be sick. America is sicker because we love to go to the doctor, but the doctor loves to see us too,” he said. “We spend twice as much as any other country of the world – and we’re not better for it.That’s prolonging dying.”

The research also looked at the results from two studies of aged 50+: the Health and Retirement Survey, which examined more than 20,000 people, and the English Longitudinal Survey of Ageing, which covered 12,000 people. They looked at age of death, the ages at which new illnesses developed and the rates of common chronic conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, lung disease and diabetes.

The study published in the journal Demography, found that rates of cancer were more than double for Americans than for the British, 17.9 percent in America compared to 7.8 percent in the UK.  The British had nearly half as many cases of diabetes than the Americans, 10.4 percent compared to 17.2 percent.

Though the death rates were almost the same among American and English people aged 55 to 64, those aged 70 to 80 died earlier in the UK compared to the US. The reearch team said the results showed that Americans lived longer despite being plagued by more disease.

“The differences are striking,” another of the article’s authors, James Banks of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, told Reuters. “That’s got to be an important priority for policy in terms of lifestyle or behavioral factors.”

Health care in the UK is provided by the Government-funded National Health System, which has come under fire and has been used as a bad example of a public health-care system by critics of President Obama’s plan.

Smith said the US system is better at treating sick people and prolonging their lives than the British one, even though it is not as good in at preventing them from getting ill.

“We are consecrated to repair in America,” said Bortz. “We should be consecrated to prevention.”

He believes there is a secret to a longer life.

“Aging is no longer an unknown. It comes down to fitness,” said Bortz, who just ran the Boston marathon for his 80th birthday. “Fitness is a 30-year age offset.”

Exercise is the

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London: We are always keen to hear of the latest anti-ageing therapy, machine, pill or surgical intervention. Yet possibly the most effective ‘therapy’ for living longer and healthier and the closest thing we have to an ‘anti-ageing pillÂ’ is regular exercise.

The International Institute for Anti-Ageing exercise expert, Professor Wayne Derman, tells us more.

“There is increasing research that suggests specific forms of exercise training, in appropriate doses (duration, frequency and intensity) can slow and in some cases even reverse the ageing changes in the body. This is particularly relevant to the chronic diseases associated with increasing age.

• In type 2 diabetes (when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin causing blood sugar levels to soar) strength training can improve the sufferer’s sensitivity to insulin, effectively helping to reverse the disease.
• Exercise enhances blood flow to the brain improving cognitive processing, reasoning and memory, as well as enhancing creativity. It is also profoundly antidepressant.
Exercise is such a good anti-ageing intervention because it is effective at various levels in the biological system. Even simple exercises such as walking can have a profound effect on oneÂ’s quality of life as the years add on. Because walking can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that help to keep urine in the bladder, simply walking for 30 minutes a day can reduce a womanÂ’s risk of urinary incontinence by up to 25%.

The key of course, is how much we should exercise for optimal effects and what exercises should we be doing? New guidelines recommend:
• moderately intense cardio-respiratory activity (eg. brisk walking) 30 minutes a day, five days a week. ‘Moderately intense’ means anything that creates a sweat and raises the heart rate.
Or
• vigorously intense cardio-respiratory activity (eg. jogging) 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week. ‘Vigorously intense’ means you can’t carry on a conversation while exercising.
Plus
• Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week. These can be done at home with an elasticised resistance band – an inexpensive and highly effective alternative to conventional weight and exercise equipment and ideal for strength training.

It is always important to remember that if you’ve been sedentary for a long time, are overweight, have a high risk of coronary heart disease or some other chronic health problem, see your doctor for a medical evaluation before beginning a physical activity programme.

World’s oldest person dies at 114

Hartford: The world’s oldest person, Emma Faust Tillman, has died in the US aged 114.

Mrs Tillman, the daughter of former slaves, died “peacefully” on Sunday night, said an official at a nursing home in Hartford, Connecticut.

Mrs Tillman had lived independently until she was 110 and had never smoked or drank, her family and friends said.

She only became the world’s oldest person last week, after the death of a 115-year-old man in Puerto Rico, the Guinness Book of World Records said.

“She was a wonderful woman,” said Karen Chadderton, administrator of Riverside health and Rehabilitation Center in Hartford.

Mrs Tillman had been very religious and had always attributed her longevity to God’s will, according to her family and friends.

She was born on 22 November 1892 on a plantation near Gibsonville in North Carolina.

In an interview with a local historical society in 1994, Mrs Tillman said her parents had been slaves.

Longevity appears to be common in Mrs Tillman’s family – three of her sisters and a brother lived past 100.

Japan’s Yone Minagawa, who was born in 1893, is now believed to be the world’s oldest person.