Celina Jacobson ffrom Masters in HealthCare sent the following article called "50 Fascinating Aging Facts for Older Americans Month" from their website. 

Aging is an inevitable part of living, and can be fascinating for people of any age. Lives change, minds and bodies change, and time goes on. Here we will take a look at 50 interesting facts about aging in honor of Older Americans Month.

Population

Aging Americans are an important part of the population-learn about their impact here.

1.  The over 65 population should reach 86.7 million: Estimates put the 65+ population at 86.7 by 2050.

2.  Life expectancy is increasing at a faster rate: Between 1900 and 1960, life expectancy increased by 2.4 years, but since 1960, it has increased by 3.5 years.

3.  The older population is nearly 40 million strong: In 2009, there were 39.6 million people aged 65 and older.

4.  Minorities make up almost half of the older population: 42% of people 65 and older in the US are part of minority groups.

5.  Many elderly are poor or close to it: 16.8% of the elderly in America are poor or near poor.

6.  There are more people over age 60 than under 15: Those over age 60 outnumber those under 15.

7.  The elderly are the fastest growing age group: The US Census Bureau indicates that individuals 85 and up are the fastest growing age group by percentage.

Societal Contributions

Growing older doesn’t have to mean shrinking away from society, as evidenced by these facts.

8.  The elderly make about $30,000 per year: $31,354 is the median 2009 income for those 65 and older.  9.3.7 million older Americans worked in 1998: Older Americans made up 2.8% of the US labor force in 1998.

10.  Poets, philosophers, and writers can create at a late age: Emmanuel Kant published his greatest works between 60 and 80.

11.  About half of the employed elderly work full time: Of those who are working past 65, 55% work full time.

12.  There are 9 million elderly veterans: The number of 65+ veterans is estimated to be about 9 million.

13.  Workers 45 and up are unemployed longer: Middle aged workers will stay unemployed longer than younger workers.

14.  15 million older persons volunteer: Nearly half of all adults 65 and older volunteer in some form.

15.  The elderly vote more than any other age group: 70% of citizens 65 and older voted in 2008, with the highest turnout rate of any age group.

16.  There are millions of elderly in the labor force: In 2009, there were 6.5 million people 65 and older in the labor force, and that number should reach 11.1 million by 2018.

Caregiving

For some, getting older means relying on family and other sources of caregiving.

17.  Nursing home care costs $60,000: It costs more than $60,000 per patient for nursing home care for a year.

18.  A quarter of households are involved in caregiving: One in four households will care for a loved one aged 50 and older.

19.  Caregivers face health risks: Unpaid caregivers often have high stress, reduced immunity, and heart disease.

20.  Most elderly live with relatives: 66% of people aged 65+ live with relatives.

21.  Most elderly persons will need some type of long term care: The US Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging estimates that 70% of all people 65 and up will need long term care services in their lifetime.

22.  Unpaid caregivers make up 90% of long term care: Most long term caregivers are unpaid, and 83% are family members, friends, and neighbors.

Mental Health

These facts take a look at Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other mental afflictions affecting older Americans.

23.  Alzheimer’s affects millions: In the US alone, Alzheimer’s disease effects an estimated four million people.

24.  20% of older Americans suffer from depression: Older adults experience depression at twice the rate of younger adults.

25.  Treatment for depression in the elderly is low: Although nearly 20% of the older population experiences depression, only 3% get treatment.

26.  Your brain never stops growing: We grow new neurons with time, and the brain is constantly reshaping itself in response to learning.

27.  As you get older, you get happier Many people report that they feel more content as they age.

28.  Alzheimer’s is spreading rapidly: Every 70 seconds, a person in America develops Alzheimer’s.

29.  Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s: More women will develop Alzheimer’s than men, and it’s believed this is because women tend to live longer.

30.  Being cautiously optimistic is healthy: Being too cheerful or optimistic can lead to an inability to cope, and a risk factor for premature death.

31.  Staying in school can save your brain: The longer you remain a student, the better you’ll be to fight of dementia.

32.  Seniors need just as much sleep as others: Seniors have to sleep as much as younger adults, but it may be harder for seniors to get enough sleep.

Physical Health

Learn about the potential for physical health as you age from these facts.

33.  Physical efficiency reaches its peak in the mid-20s: Efficiency increases from birth to the middle of your 20s.

34.  Seniors can exercise: Despite the common misconception that aging means physical inactivity, seniors are capable of exercising, and it’s great for health and wellbeing.

35.  Every breath ages you from the inside: Some oxygen molecules degrade into free radicals, which causes your body to rust from the inside.

36.  18.2% of elderly have diabetes: In 2006, 18.2% of adults 65 and up reported a diabetes diagnosis.

37.  Most 65+ adults got a flu shot: 75% of adults 65 and older got a flu shot in the past 12 months.

38.  66% of individuals 75 or older are in good health: Only 34% report fair or poor health at 75 or older.

39.  Negative thinking can cause problems: Elderly people who worry about falling over tend to fall over more often that those who don’t.

40.  Elderly drivers often have fewer accidents: Despite popular belief, drivers over 65 have fewer accidents per person than those under 65.

41.  Soda kills at any age: Phosphate, found in soda, caused mice to age faster.

42.  Chronic inflammation accelerates aging: Those who experienced high levels of infection-related inflammation as children die earlier and age faster.

43.  A negative childhood can shorten your life: Those who faced trauma as a child will typically age earlier than those who didn’t.

Living Longer

You can stretch your lifespan by taking these facts to heart.

44.  Exercise is key to successful aging: Physical fitness is at the crux of successful aging.

45.  Working past retirement can keep you alive: Many long lived professionals keep working after retirement age, even if it’s just part time.

46.  Women live longer than men: Women can generally expect to live longer than men.

47.  Conscientious people live longer: Being persistent, working hard, and a little obsessive is the secret to long life.

48.  A happy marriage can save your life: People living in happy marriages tend to live longer, but getting rid of a troublesome spouse can also have a positive effect on your longevity.

49.  HGH can be dangerous: HGH can give you a more youthful appearance, but when not used properly, can cause cancer cells to grow and spread faster.

50.  You can’t get enough reservatrol from wine: Reservatrol, found in wine, can slow the aging process, but wine does not contain enough to make a difference.
 

Celina Jacobson of the website Masters in Healthcare sent us an interesting article to share called 10 Common Medical Myths That Are Completely False.  We thought it was worth sharing:

For hundreds of years, humans have been programmed to believe things that were downright wrong. The same goes for medicine. Medicine has been, and continues to be, poorly understood, which has given way to several medical myths. A lack of knowledge and motivation to conduct further research has allowed people to come up with their own theories about the human body and how it works. We may not know everything about the body or completely understand its functions, but we do know that these 10 common medical myths are completely false.

1.The Flu Shot Can Give You the Flu: Despite many people’s beliefs, the flu shot does not infect you with the virus. In fact, the influenza viruses in a flu shot are inactivated, or killed, and they cannot cause an infection. Some people experience soreness or redness near the injection site after vaccination, but it does not cause flu illness. If someone does get flu-like symptoms after being vaccinated it’s generally because of a couple of reasons. First, they may have been exposed to one of the influenza viruses before getting vaccinated or before the vaccine takes effect. Second, they may have been infected by a different type of virus or non-flu virus, such as rhinovirus or a respiratory illness that are not protected by the vaccine. Most other flu-like symptoms are experienced among the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

2.Swallowed Gum Stays in Your Stomach for Seven Years: The truth can be hard to swallow, but you’ll be happy to know that your childhood friends were wrong about gum staying in your stomach for seven years. We should all know better than to underestimate the power of the digestive system. When gum is swallowed, the body breaks it down just like every other food you ingest. During the digestion process, the body extracts materials that it can use and sends the rest out in the stool. Although the body cannot digest the synthetic ingredients of gum, it still passes normally from the stomach, small intestine and into the colon. Even though chewing gum is meant to be chewed, it’s perfectly fine to swallow it if need be.

3.Chocolate and Greasy Foods Cause Acne: Contrary to many beliefs, chocolate and greasy foods do not cause acne. Acne is caused by three main factors: overproduction of oil, also called sebum, irregular shedding of dead skin cells that cause an irritation of the hair follicles, and a buildup of bacteria. Although no one should go overboard on eating chocolate or greasy meals, there is no scientific link to diet and acne.

4.Cracking Your Knuckles Causes Arthritis: When doctors took a crack at disproving this myth, they found little to no truth behind it. The act of cracking your knuckles may sound bad to the ears, but it does not cause arthritis. Every time you crack your knuckles, you stretch the capsule that covers each joint and lower the pressure inside the joint, which creates a vacuum effect by causing the gasses that were previously dissolved in the capsule fluid to make a bubble and pop. While cracking your knuckles does not cause arthritis, it has been linked to ligament injury, discoloration of the tendons and reduced grip strength.

5.Cold Weather Can Give You a Cold : This one couldn’t be more false. Cold weather alone does not cause people to catch colds – you have to contract the virus from an infected person to get one. Colds are more common during the winter months because people are generally indoors during this time and the viruses can spread more easily. In fact, cold viruses tend to survive better in the spring, summer and early fall months because humidity levels are high. So until you swap germs with a sick person, you won’t get a cold from wet hair, cold temperatures or going hatless outside.

6.You Have to Wait 30 Minutes After Eating Before You Can Swim: Despite your mother’s warning, there is no scientific proof that swimming right after a meal is bad for you. It was commonly believed that people should refrain from swimming 30 minutes after eating because blood flows to your digestive tract and limits the blood needed to move your arm and leg muscles when swimming. Scientists have dispelled this myth, noting that while the body does use extra blood during digestion, it does not use enough to prevent your arms and legs from functioning properly. If anything, you may experience slight abdominal cramping if you swim right after eating.

7.You Lose Most of Your Body Heat Through Your Head: The common belief that people lose most body heat through their head is all in their head. Even though you do lose about 10 percent of body heat through your head, it is not the main exit. Body heat is lost through any and all parts of the body that are uncovered in cold temperatures. The myth likely goes back to a flawed military study from the 1950s that tested the loss of body heat when soldiers were exposed to extremely cold conditions. The volunteers experienced rapid heat loss in their heads, but the experiment was flawed because their head was the only part unclothed. Regardless of the myth, it’s a good idea to keep your head and most body parts covered in cold temperatures to stay warm, but know that you aren’t going to turn into an icicle without a hat.

8.Eating Turkey Makes You Sleepy: Just because you’re ready for a nap after eating a large Thanksgiving feast doesn’t mean the turkey is the culprit. The myth claims that turkey makes you sleepy because it contains a nutrient called tryptophan, which is used by the body to make sleep-related serotonin. Tryptophan is a natural occurring amino acid that is obtained from food protein, but turkey is just one of many sources of this essential acid. There are several other amino acids in turkey, but tryptophan is less abundant. It takes a while for these amino acids to circulate through the bloodstream and increase brain serotonin in the brain. A more plausible cause of post-turkey dinner drowsiness is the fact that you’ve eaten more in one sitting than you’re probably used to, and it takes a great deal of energy to digest all that food, therefore making you more sleepy.

9.We Only Use 10 Percent of Our Brains: Whoever believes that people only use 10 percent of their brains may not have a brain. I’m only kidding, but the truth is humans actually use every part of the brain and its always active. Even when you’re resting or thinking, at least 10 percent of the brain is in use. Every part of the brain has a specific function and multiple portions are being used at the same time to perform daily activities, such as breathing, making dinner and driving a car. Even if all parts of the brain aren’t firing neurons and communicating at the exact same time, you can be certain that the human brain is being worked 24/7.

10.Eating Late at Night Makes You Gain Weight: Fear not, late-night snackers, the myth about gaining weight from eating late at night are just plain false. Sure, you probably aren’t going to go run off that bowl of ice cream or bag of popcorn before bedtime, but it’s not going to make you balloon up overnight either. Over the years, scientists have conducted several studies to dispel this myth and results show that eating late at night does not increase one’s chance of gaining weight more than any other time of the day. However, it’s important to note that late-night snacking after you’ve consumed your normal caloric intake during the day may cause weight gain and should be avoided.