Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Long live me

Heather passed on an article that I thought others might find interesting as well.  The gist is that giving birth after age 33 indicates a longer life expectancy.

Doctors often discourage women from delaying childbirth, but a new study published this week in the journal Menopause found a surprising perk to late motherhood: a longer life expectancy.

Researchers at Boston University and Boston Medical Center studied women who lived to the age of 95 or older and compared them with 151 women who died at younger ages. What they found was interesting: Women who gave birth naturally (without fertility assistance, such as IVF) after the age of 33 were twice as likely to live to the age of 95. And women who gave birth after the age of 40 were four time as likely to live to the age of 100.

“We believe the ability to have kids at an older age is a sign that a woman’s reproductive system is aging slowly, which is a marker that her entire body is aging slowly," lead researcher Thomas Perls, MD, a geriatrician and professor of medicine at Boston Medical Center, tells Yahoo Shine. "That means she is better able to ward off life-threatening, age-related diseases such as heart attack or stroke.”

“Look at Halle Berry,” he says. “She became pregnant without fertility assistance at the age of 46 and she looks young and appears to be healthy.” 

The results were also good news for the children of women who conceived later in life — the offspring ran half the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. “The longevity genes appear to be genetic,” says Perls.

That’s reassuring for women in their 30s who don't have kids yet but want to some day. But Perls notes that his findings are not a free pass to delay motherhood. “Doctors generally advise that women not put off childbirth to avoid maternal complications and birth defects,” he says. “However, for mothers who are told they will be too old and tired to enjoy their children when they grow up, that’s probably not true considering how well they age.”

Whether or not you’re a mother, you can still estimate how long you’ll live by using the Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator, a tool linked to the New England Centenarian Study for which Perls is a lead author.

My grandma on my dad’s side is amazing.  She’s 91 and is relatively healthy physically and has more wits about her than I do half the time these days.  Last year when we visited in April for her 90th birthday, she’d been transplanting rose bushes earlier that day.  Like I said, she’s amazing.  Let’s hope I’m sporting some of her good genes.


Happy Hump Day! Although technically most of us are over the hump since Friday is a holiday for the majority.  Bring on the three-day weekend!

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