New scientific calculator helps predict longevity for those over 60

  • A new scientific calculator can approximate how old you'll get if you're over the age of 60.
  • It uses demographic and health information based on the average data of UK citizens.
  • However, in the South African context of mortality risk factors, it might be skewed.

Want to know what you're chances are of reaching old age? A new calculator from researchers at Big Health Actuarial Data might just be able to help with that.

Barring infectious diseases, freak accidents and human villainy, the calculator uses demographic and health factors to approximate how long you might naturally live by using the average of other people with similar factors. 

The data comes from a cohort of 110 000 healthy people who turned 60 years old between 1990 and 2000. The data was collected for 25 years and their status updated every six months.

READ | Getting your protein from plants a recipe for longevity 

Information

The demographic information includes where you live; the prosperity level of your neighbourhood; your ethnicity; gender; age; and body mass indicators. 

In the health section, you're asked about smoking and chronic ailments like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, kidney disease and heart issues.

"It is by no means an individual prediction; there is a lot of variation in individual longevity around this average, but it still may give you some useful food for thought," write the calculator's creators. 

Skewed for younger people and other nationalities

It's important to note however that the information is taken from overall population life expectancy in England and Wales from people over the age of 60, and that the data comes from a pre-Covid-19 era. 

"People of younger ages and from other countries should interpret the results with caution," advise the researchers, as the calculation assumes that you won't pick up certain diseases when you reach the age of 60. 

READ MORE | Heading to work on a bike? You might live longer

Death risk factors

The calculator is part of a larger research project that aims to better understand longevity and morbidity risks by using statistical and actuarial modelling. With this research, the organisation hopes that it could drive change by targeting the biggest causes of death and their treatment.

In England so far, the top causes of premature death (besides Covid-19) are heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, cancer and Alzheimer's disease, and the research hopes to highlight how better use of statins - medication that lowers cholesterol – could help fight these death machines. 

The top 10 causes of premature death in South Africa are a little different, but with some similarities. According to Health Data from 2017, these are:

  • HIV and Aids
  • Ischaemic heart disease
  • Lower respiratory infection
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Tuberculosis
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Road injuries
  • Diarrhoeal diseases
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

WATCH | Intermittent fasting may help you live longer

Image credit: Pixabay

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