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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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March 30, 2011

Compression of Morbidity: Vitality to the End

By Mark Sisson
172 Comments

“Live long and prosper.” -Spock

“Live long and drop dead.” –Grok

Got your attention? (Thought so.) Sisson’s gone morbid, you say. Not exactly. Death is on the docket for today but more so the time leading up to death – (for some) a period of morbidity during which we experience major illness and impairment. We live, of course, with the prospect of our own mortality and how it will befall us, but we’re also emotional witnesses to that of our loved ones. I’ve lost many family and friends at this point in my life. Although I believe most had a good life, not many had what any of us would consider a “good death.”

I’d venture to say that most of us have known someone, perhaps even someone very close, who lived their last years with serious disease and debilitation. Perhaps they were in and out of the hospital, caught in continual throes of pain, rendered increasingly immobile and confined by physical weakness, stressed by the financial burden of their ongoing care, juggling medications and treatments whose side effects were almost as unbearable as the conditions they were meant to treat. Those final years may have offered the invaluable chance to be emotionally and cognitively present, to appreciate and reciprocate the love of family and friends, to bring individual and interpersonal business to a peaceful, meaningful closure. Maybe not. Either way, we can’t help but wish our loved ones could have lived out those years with less suffering, less hardship.

On the other hand, we’ve known people who, up until the day they died, lived active, independent lives wholly on their own terms. Old age obliged perhaps a slower rhythm but little constraint. There was a spirited, graceful older lady I knew growing up. Up until her last day, she lived (not far from us) in the house she’d raised her children in – staircases and all. She entertained her dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren there. She mowed her own yard. She biked around town every day. She kept one of the most beautiful gardens I’d ever seen and tended dozens of ferns (some thirty years old or more) in her sunny Victorian home. One spring morning while she was dusting a curio, she died of a massive, sudden heart attack. There’d never been evidence of heart disease or any other medical condition. She’d been fit as a fiddle, as they say, until the day when she literally dropped dead in front of that cabinet, duster still in hand. She was 89.

To be sure, it’s a shock when people die that way, but after the reality sinks in, there’s also a sense of gratitude, relief, even fortune that they had the life they wanted – up to the very last moment. Whatever the extent of our own grief, we take comfort in their quick passing. Given the choice, I sincerely hope to follow my old neighbor’s example.

We’d all like to live to a ripe old age. What a trip it must be to turn 100. However, I’d gladly give up those extra years, even decades, if it meant they were to be spent bedridden and miserable. Truth be told, I live the way I live not because I’m shooting for longevity. If I’m lucky enough to enjoy a long life, so be it. Rather, I live my life according to certain principles in order to push illness and markers of aging further and further down the road. Coined by James F. Fries, M.D., there’s a phrase for this: compression of morbidity. It’s the shortening of the period between the “first appearance of aging manifestations and chronic disease symptoms” and the end of life (PDF). In my book, that’s what it’s all about.

While statistics show that we’re generally living longer – some 78 years and 2 months according to the latest figures, the flip side is that other research shows we’re living fewer years disease free and more years with chronic and often debilitating disease. We congratulate ourselves in the developed world on our mortality-related statistics (e.g. life expectancy), but our morbidity picture is increasingly abysmal. As Eileen Crimmins, AARP Chair in Gerontology at the University of Southern California and co-author of the study examining morbidity and life span, observes, “There is substantial evidence that we have done little to date to eliminate or delay disease while we have prevented death from diseases. …At the same time, there have been substantial increases in the incidences of certain chronic diseases, specifically, diabetes.” In a short ten year span, we’ve lost on average a full year of healthy life (slightly more for women) – life without one or more of the major diseases that constitute the most common causes of death in the U.S.: cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. (I wonder what the picture would look like if you added other common chronic and debilitating conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.)

As this study showed, we also spend less of our life fully mobile. Just ten years ago, the average 20-year-old man would experience 3.8 years of his life with impaired functional mobility – “the ability to walk up ten steps, walk a quarter of a mile, stand or sit for 2 hours, and stand, bend or kneel without using special equipment.” Today that number is 5.8 years. Women fare even worse. Ten years ago, that number was 7.3 years and has since risen to 9.8 years. That’s almost ten years of one’s life without basic mobility. Yes, there’s much more to life than the ability to walk up stairs, but I can’t call this an ideal. We’re not talking about a freak accident here that couldn’t have been helped. This trend represents broad and gradual systemic decline – the kind of impairment that is almost always preventable by effective and consistent lifestyle intervention.

Call me callous (or not), but I think we’re shockingly blasé about the constraints people are routinely living with at the end of their lives. We’re physical beings, of course. I understand that bodies don’t last forever. Nonetheless, the fact that we’re losing so much ground in only a decade’s time should constitute a five-alarm fire.

For those who suffer in their final days or years, I’m grateful for the interventions of modern palliative medicine. Yet, it’s an uneasy contract. Do we accept the limitations, pain, and suffering of chronic disease more as a society when we have a “fix” to treat it? No one I know who’s dealt with a long decline has many good things to say about the treatments that spared them the worst of their suffering. They’re grateful, but they still traverse a long, hard road. These measures are better than the immediate alternative to be sure, but the commonality of their circumstances still begs a bigger question, I think.

For my part, I’m not going gently down that path of decrepitude. There’s no sense of surrender here. I’m not master of the universe, but I do have quite a bit to say about my own fate. I live every day of my Primal life as an affirmation of wholehearted, all-out living. Thriving, as it were. I’ll make my peace with my life and loved ones each day rather than wait until some compromised 13th hour. I’ll embrace every particle of discipline and self-respect to live a life that I know will support my well-being and independence today and in my later years. Let me live with the primal spirit of my ancestor kin and meet death (when it comes) with a vigor and vitality that confound the statistics and conventional resignation of our time. That, in my mind, would be the best resolution for a Primal life – and a good death.

Thoughts? Responses? Let me know what you think, and thanks for reading today, everyone.

TAGS:  Aging, Grok

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139 Comments on "Compression of Morbidity: Vitality to the End"

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Conner P.
Conner P.
5 years 8 months ago

I couldn’t agree more. I would rather going out swiftly or with a bang than long and drawn out. My great grandfather was bedridden for about 10 years before he died. I too want to be like your neighbor, enjoying life up unto the last minute.

fit65
fit65
5 years 8 months ago

Another thoughtful post from Mark. My wife and I love cruising the world, however, the average cruise passenger is far from inspirational. I’m 66 and in pretty good shape, sprinting, running and doing pullups and pushupa as well as my gym rings. It amazes me that the terrible, immobile, obese shape most Americans have degenerated to his accepted as normal.

We all get old and somewhat disfunctional but decrepitation is the new norm.

Primal Toad
5 years 8 months ago

10 years? This makes me feel so unbelievably blessed that I discovered the primal lifestyle at such a young age of just 22 years old.

Living a vibrant life is what its all about. One must try their absolute best to cherish every moment as one never knows when it will end. Live primally and your chances of making it to 100 increase.

Whats certain is that the quality of life is grand.

Jason
Jason
2 years 9 months ago

“Let it be known in history that we chose to die on our feet, rather than live on our knees”

Graham
5 years 8 months ago

Its better to burn out than to fade away.

Alhaddadin
5 years 3 months ago

Exactly my thoughts 🙂 Gotta love Neil Young!

Erin
Erin
5 years 8 months ago

Great post. Motivation to increase the amount of time I’m healthy (as opposed to just increase my lifespan) is my main reason for living Primally.

I wonder, though, about the effect of improved diagnosis in those results. I haven’t read the article, but I wonder if the authors address this (btw, the link to the press release is missing the “h” at the beginning of “http”).

Dana
Dana
5 years 8 months ago

It’s pretty hard to miss being sick and miserable even if you don’t have an official diagnosis.

Jenny
Jenny
5 years 8 months ago

Unfortunately it seems like a lot of doctors seem to brush off decreased performance, mobility, etc. as “Well you’re old, it’s to be expected.” as opposed to seeing it as something to aggressively address with exercise and better nutrition…

Emily
Emily
5 years 8 months ago

As a GP I can tell you that I would dearly love it if my patients were willing to tackle their issues with “exercise and better nutrition” but THEY DON’T LISTEN and if they listen, they still don’t comply. They want a pill. They don’t want to put forth the effort. I understand it’s hard work to stay in shape- I dedicate a fair amount of time and yes, money to it- but it’s absolutely worth it in my book. But try telling that to the average patient. They just don’t want any of it. Don’t blame the doctors!

Jenny
Jenny
5 years 8 months ago

True, Emily — it’s definitely a two-way street. I’ve heard plenty of doctors complain about people who come in and just want a pill without further instructions, even in matters of life and death.

I tend to forget about that when I’m here since pretty much anybody hanging around here is taking charge of their own health, but still. You’re right.

Christine Mattice
4 years 7 months ago

I agree with you. My husband has felt sick for at least the past 5 years. Sure, he has heart disease, congestive heart failure, and type 2 diabetes, but so much of his “sick” feeling cannot be contributed to any one cause. It’s frustrating!

Kelda
5 years 8 months ago

Agreed.

Many see middle age as a time of aging (when various ailments begin to manifest) as natural and inevitable, how often do you hear ‘it’s my age’ (and often from people only in their 40s).

The biggest thing Primal has to get over is ‘it doesn’t have to be that way’. It isn’t natural, it’s pathological and mostly completely avoidable.

Kitty
Kitty
5 years 8 months ago

I know what you mean. I hear friends, only in their early 30’s, blame their age for forgetfulness or health problems. It makes me feel quite strange when I am standing their listening to them talking this way (I am in my 40’s). These people often forget that I am actually older than they are 😛

Cecilia
5 years 8 months ago

good point Kitty! we need to be careful what we say to ourselves about our selves – I am bad at this!

Suvetar
Suvetar
5 years 8 months ago

LOL..that made me laugh.
But it’s happened to me, too. Having a conversation with younger people and I get to hear about their health problems…it’s ironic.

We live in a housing area and I see tons of people (young ones) huffing and puffing in their professional work-out clothing down the side walk with their arm weights and walk-man.
And here I come in my 40’s sprinting down the street with my dog:)

Christine Mattice
4 years 7 months ago

I know what you mean, Kittly. And the more they think about their forgetfulness or health problems (and blame it on their age) the more they’ll start experiencing those problems. This is a classic case of mind over matter!

Zoebird
5 years 8 months ago

my experience? it starts in people’s 30s these days.

it is common for my 31 yr old girlfriends to say ‘oh, well, you know, it’s aging!” or, if i pull a muscle or some such (rare, but still) “that’s because you’re aging! can’t do what you used to!”

it’s so sad.

labbygail
labbygail
5 years 8 months ago

My 25-year-old brother-in-law thinks it’s normal that he has lost significant mobility compared to when he was, say, 14. I tried to explain to him that it wasn’t normal…couldn’t make him listen (although I didn’t try ridiculously hard since it appeared he would have taken it as an insult).

Matthew
Matthew
5 years 8 months ago
This has been on my mind all week. My grandmother is only 69 years old and takes enough pills everyday to stock a small pharmacy. She can’t get around very well and as a result, battles with depression. About three weeks ago, her doctor changed her depression medicine which ended up making her worse and last week she took a whole bottle of sleeping pills to try and commit suicide. In her “suicide note”, she said she just couldn’t handle being a burden on her family. She ended up living and is now staying with my parents until we can… Read more »
Dana
Dana
5 years 8 months ago

I know someone in his *early 40s* who takes enough pills to stock a small pharmacy. Some of them are for asthma, but even that responds to changes in his lifestyle. In other words, if he takes better care of himself, he has fewer attacks and needs less medicine.

Kitty
Kitty
5 years 8 months ago

Yeah, my ex has the same kind of asthma and he is in his 30’s. He has remarried and is now eating mostly processed food high in carbs and chemicals, and he has gotten worse. He has also aged about 20 years before my eyes.

Steve
Steve
5 years 8 months ago
What a timely post. Not more than 10 minutes ago, I was talking about compression of morbidity with my sweetheart…yeah, I know…why was I talking to her about something like that? But, as she cares for her aging mother in a nursing home, our discussions often turn to how we never want to be in the same situation. We want to be going strong until the moment we keel over and die. We both believe that our lifestyle choices will go a long way in making that happen. While we’re not completely primal yet (we’re close), we do see the… Read more »
Yaish
Yaish
5 years 8 months ago

Mark, great post today.

I work in a hospital, and I see the effects of this morbidity on a daily basis. People rarely ever die of just one thing. I see patients here with a host ailments, multiple emergency room trips, life support, and heroic measures being used to save and prolong their life. What a life it is too. They go home, bedridden, on hosts of medications with invasive procedures, doctors appointments, and in home (or nursing home) care a necessity.

I’d much rather be healthy right up until the day I “die of nothing”.

Gary Deagle
5 years 8 months ago

Very well said. Sometimes people focus so much on “retirement” and don’t even bother living and relishing the moment.

Jeanna
5 years 8 months ago

Love this post, and concur! I’ve thought this too as different family members pass, those that go suddenly opposed to those that suffer for what seems like eternity. The ones that suffer leave you with that feeling of despair, their sickness something you can only hope you do not have to endure. A heart attack while tending your favorite plants (doing what you love) definitely is the way I want to leave.

bjbegoon
bjbegoon
5 years 8 months ago

My grandfather lived to be 95 and he had no health problems except for diabetes which he controlled with 1 pill and with his diet. For whatever reason, he hung himself last November. I think he was tired of living…if that makes sense.

Ross
Ross
5 years 8 months ago

Some brave Ones are lucky to be able to carry through with that choice! I hope you are able to accept it without pain.

Jenny
Jenny
5 years 8 months ago

Not sure I’d call it “brave” (since it would make sticking around to live “cowardly!”) but yes, it is an individual, personal choice. Hopefully it’s what he really wanted, at least.

Lucy
Lucy
5 years 8 months ago

Your story was touching, I am sorry for your loss.

Sharon
Sharon
5 years 8 months ago
This is a timely post for me since I am watching the slow march toward death of my mother. She lives at the top of a steep hill and walked most everywhere up until a few years ago. She was still square dancing and could carry on a conversation while hiking up that hill at age 90. Now at 93 she is so weak she has to be pushed around in a wheelchair and has 24 hr. care. She probably has Alzheimer’s but still knows who I am. She has not been interested in anything and I mean anything for… Read more »
jen duncan
5 years 8 months ago

Oh my gosh. It was hard enough to make that call with a family pet. I can’t even imagine having to make it with a parent. I was with my dad when he died at 78 last Summer. He had given up so long before that it almost felt like a blessing. There’s just really no easy way to part with a parent, is there?

joni
joni
5 years 8 months ago
My husband just lost his 93-year-old grandmother 4 days ago. For the past 2 years she has been cared for by my mother-in-law after suffering a broken hip and just generally declining. While still in good health, she just became weaker but remained lucid (with quite the sense of humor) until the last few weeks. However, what a tender, intimate end: her eldest child and granddaughter caring for her as no one else could. We have all learned wonderful lessons about life and death by loving her through her end. I guess my point is that we all have roles… Read more »
Sharon
Sharon
5 years 8 months ago

Thanks Joni.

Jillness
5 years 8 months ago

This is a great post, Mark. It touches on an issue that’s pretty prominent in my life these days. Thanks for posting about it and writing about it so eloquently and effectively. I agree completely.

Tamara
Tamara
5 years 8 months ago
My grandmother is 90 years old and while certainly not as spry as she once was, she still gets out meets few friends once in while. Loves having my kids come over even if they are mostly there for her tv ( small town and their grandparents do not have cable/sat lol) she has still more life these past 5 years than my cousin who died this year before her 45 birthday. My cousin had been overweight most of her life, and apparently suffered from a chromic illness which last diagnosis might not have been the correct diagnosis and the… Read more »
Jill
Jill
5 years 8 months ago

This subject is one I am more aware of now than ever before. I’m an orthopedic surgeon and I deal primarily with acute injuries in a hospital-based/ER setting.

I am NOT going to dwindle away in a nursing home, demented and/or nonambulatory. There is no point to it and it’s a tragic way to end your years on earth. I will pay someone if I have to, to take me somewhere I’ve never been, and ski/big wave surf/motorcycle my way to a quick and adrenaline-infused end.

Oak_dweller
Oak_dweller
5 years 8 months ago

Another thought-provoking and uplifting post. Thank you for that. My grandmother lived independently and vibrantly until 86. A couple hours before she died, she was gardening — pulling up a small tree by the roots, to be exact! Then she went inside, made some strong coffee, sat down, put her feet up, and went to sleep. That seems just perfect to me.

W.J. Purifoy
W.J. Purifoy
5 years 1 month ago

That sounds just perfect to me too, with the possible exception of a glass of wine instead of coffee. But a good cup of coffee would work too.

Wow! Pulling a tree out by the roots. Way to go!! Thanks for sharing that with us.

Julia
Julia
5 years 8 months ago

Agree 100%. My husband talk about this all the time. It doesn’t matter how long we live, but the quality of life we live. That is why we GROK on.
We both have family members that are constantly at the doctors and have limitations because of there health. They both just sit in front of the tv for hours in constant pain. It is sad to see.

shadia
shadia
5 years 8 months ago
I’m a medical doctor who just went primal three months ago (I have never looked or felt better). I’ve been reading this site daily and felt compelled to write my first post on this topic. I can’t believe all the crap I learned during medical school about health. Acutally I should rephrase that, I mostly learned about disease, and very little about health and preventative medicine. Death is not the failure of our efforts as doctors, its an inevitable part of life. But in this society where Convential Wisdom rules, both doctors and their patients are trapped chasing chronic illness.… Read more »
Harmony
Harmony
5 years 8 months ago

I am not sure where you practice medicine but I commend you on your choice to learn and apply wellness to yourself! NOW the million dollar question: How will you apply this knowledge and experience in your practice?

shadia
shadia
5 years 8 months ago
I’m in Michigan, and actually I decided to become a pathologist which means I don’t see patients anymore. As a medical student I didn’t have great boundaries, I took home all their problems and worried about them constantly. Now I get to help by examing their tissues and making diagnoses. I diagnose a lot of cancer on a daily basis, it seems in younger and younger people. I found too that the time I did spend with patients as a medical student wasn’t enough to really counsel on lifestyle. And then they wouldn’t listen anyway, not surprising because convential wisdom… Read more »
Kitty
Kitty
5 years 8 months ago

I have a doctor who follows the Primal lifestyle and he helps those of his patients who are willing to listen to him. The others he still has no choice but to continue prescribing medications. But I feel truly lucky to have a doctor who understands health and nutrition and does not panic when I talk to them about eating primally; but actually tells me to eat a nice fatty breakfast of steak and eggs! Harmony’s question is a good one. Will you apply your new found knowledge in your medical practice?

DThalman
DThalman
5 years 8 months ago

one down, a hundred thousand to go…well that was just a guess, how many medical doctors are there in this country anyhow?

Kitty
Kitty
5 years 8 months ago

Try the world. My doctor is in Australia 😀

shadia
shadia
5 years 8 months ago
Hi Kitty, nice to meet you. I don’t think the medical profession will ever become obsolete, but since a significant amount of time and healthcare dollars are going towards these mostly preventable diseases, it makes sense to me that if the “demand” decreases, so will the “supply”. Of course there are plenty of conditions that require medical attention and there always will be a need for good competent doctors including pathologists like myself. But I personally would rather see fewer people needing medical attention for lifestyle-related chronic illnesses. I tried to reply under your actual comment below but for some… Read more »
shadia
shadia
5 years 8 months ago

The medical/pharmaceutical industry is interesting…at this point its because of these diseases that we have jobs! Maybe that’s why there aren’t as many dollars in preventative health. But if having fewer doctors and health corporations is the natural outcome of our society becoming healthier and happier, I will gladly welcome that day with open arms. And then go back to school because being a doctor is the only job I’ve ever had 🙂

Kitty
Kitty
5 years 8 months ago
Hi Shadia, I think that having doctors is still very impotant. I love my doctor because he does embrace the primal lifestyle and because he is a biochemist and can help with any deficiencies that crop up. But we still need doctors to diagnose diseases either way. Even though I have been primal for almost 12 months, and my blood count is great, 4 weeks ago I got this strange and frightening rash all around my eyes. Turns out that I am allergic to something in the air. It was that bad that I still needed the help of a… Read more »
JB
JB
5 years 8 months ago

Don’t get rusty before you’re old and crusty!

Katie @ Wellness Mama
5 years 8 months ago

Great post. I know way to many people in their 40s and 50s who take a bevy of meds to “be healthy.” It’s especially sad when they are family members who I know could be helped by some lifestyle changes, but they are convinced that doctor knows best…
For my part, if I could pick, I’d choose to have my parachute fail when skydiving at 105 years old!

Jesselyn
Jesselyn
5 years 8 months ago

-great post. “Quality not Quantity”… so true. Thrive on!

Tom
Tom
5 years 8 months ago

you know, above all else you’re just a really good writer. Good stuff!

PS Althought you could’ve elaborated a bit more on how we as humans aren’t naturally predisposed to being sick/immobilized the last ‘X’ years of our lives. That only happens in modern/westernized societies, if I’m right.

Jeff
Jeff
5 years 8 months ago

Good article, makes me think again about my long time idol Jack Lalane. He was sick with pneumonia for a week, but he lived for 96 years in the most tip top shape. As you discussed, he was primal in many ways, as he often said “If man made it, don’t eat it” and he only ate twice a day, which we call intermittent fasting.

I’m really curious to see how long, healthy and happy we can truly live using a primal lifestyle from youth. Art Devany and his wife certainly seem to be going strong.

peter
peter
5 years 8 months ago

I lost my dad on the 3rd when he decided dyalisis wasn’t for him. His choice was hard for me to accept. He chose to go on his own terms and I respected his wishes. I miss him terribly. He spared us and himself the agony of declining. His Alzheimer’s and kidney failure could have kept him suffering for years. I hope I may leave this world with the same courage and grace he exemplified. Peter Rose

J
J
5 years 8 months ago

Wow Peter, I’m really sorry to hear that – my condolences.

I hope the worst of the grief starts to subside soon so you can start focusing on the happy times and good memories.

Jenn
Jenn
5 years 8 months ago

I’m a Kinesiologist at a wellness center for seniors. Time and time again I see seniors who are immobile, suffering, and still blaming someone or something else for their health problems. One of the biggest obstacles I have is convincing my patients to see that their health is in their hands. It’s frustrating when they don’t see that so much of their health is affected by their diet and activity level.

Great post Mark. Thanks for the reminder and inspiration!

MJS
MJS
5 years 8 months ago

“On the other hand, we’ve known people who, up until the day they died, lived active, independent lives wholly on their own terms. ”

That was both of my grandmothers and my half-brother’s grandmother on his dad’s side. All tough old biddies to the end! 🙂

Page
Page
5 years 8 months ago

I’ll gladly trade a somewhat shorter lifespan to go out in either a blaze of glory, or a lovely, final walk in the wood.

The thought of being overly decrepit and dependent is too horrifying.

Nicky
Nicky
5 years 8 months ago

A number of years ago, I met a 91-year-old man (at the gym!) who said that after he was finished exercising, he was going to help a friend who, although younger, wasn’t as able as he was. This gentleman said that he often did light housekeeping, ironing and grocery shopping for younger friends. Not only was this man taking responsibility for his own health, but he was helping others, which was probably also a factor in his longevity and upbeat attitude.

Kathy
Kathy
5 years 8 months ago
My mom-in-law has been causing me to stop in my tracks lately with thoughts of this issue. She has lost more than 4 inches in height and has lost most feeling in her feet & lower legs to peripheral neuropathy. I can’t find a place in my brain to fit what is happening to her. I want to drag her outside to walk under the blue skies. I want to make her lift heavy things! I need HER to shout that she’s not going to give in to this! But I don’t know if each step that I encourage her… Read more »
Cecilia
5 years 8 months ago

it is This Idea that motivates me to pay attention to my health Now. my elderly parents are in that phase of illness and it makes me so sad because I have been trying to influence them to exercise (they eat pretty well) but they are stubborn old norskis.

Jolly
5 years 8 months ago

Mark:
What you attempting to do is square the mortality curve.
Incidentally, Michael Rose suggests this can best be done by eating a Paleo/Primal diet (but *only* after age 40!?!)

I’d love any comments you have on this!
More info to be found here:

http://paleohacks.com/questions/12632/fascinating-new-paleo-hypothesis-by-michael-rose

http://www.kurzweilai.net/how-to-achieve-biological-immortality-naturally

http://telexlr8.blip.tv/file/4225188/

RobyRey
RobyRey
5 years 8 months ago
This post comes into my life at just the right time. I found out today that my gramma is on her last leg so-to-speak. She has been suffering for years (arthritis, low blood count, black outs, lost mobility). As painful as it will be to lose her, it has been MUCH more painful to see her quality of life decline to the point of non-existent. While sorting through my grief I decided to take this experience as a lesson to take better care of myself. This article perfectly relates. I hope to be old like my gramma’s eldest sister- she’s… Read more »
Luke
Luke
5 years 8 months ago

Totally agree mark, as the klingons in star trek said, “die well”

Jane
Jane
5 years 8 months ago

If we follow the money trail, nursing homes (and drug companies and doctors and…) have in their best interests to keep their residents alive – at any cost to the quality of their lives. I’d be curious to know the residency rate of nursing homes now as compared with prior decades.

Sabrina
Sabrina
5 years 8 months ago
Mark, you’ve done it again! This was a very poignant post. As a young mother of three, trying to regain my health after three years of being unwell,I am deeply mindful of how my lifestyle and choices now will impact my family’s future. I have seen the grueling efforts my mother has invested in caring for my 82-year-old Grandmother who suffers from Parkinson’s. It has been brutal, but she has never complained. I want my children to have the freedom to live their own lives rather than having to care for a helpless parent. Thank you for reminding me to… Read more »
jj
jj
5 years 8 months ago
This has been on my mind a lot lately. I have one remaining grandparent, my grandfather is 93 and recently had a health scare that landed him flat on his back in the hospital for several days. Before that he was relatively active, still driving, walking to the bingo games at his senior center and working in his machine shop. Even 4 days stationary in the hospital set back his mobility a TON. It took him a week before he could stand up to shave and several weeks before he could walk freely again. He’s back to maybe 70% of… Read more »
Nick
Nick
5 years 8 months ago

Great post! I figure at age 45, I’m past what the primal world has expected me to live anyway. My only wish is to get my kids independent, after that, anything else is gravy.

woo
woo
5 years 8 months ago

My father died at the young age of 75. He was killed in a logging accident! I hope to have such a good death someday.

Peter
Peter
5 years 8 months ago

This, this my friend is what led me to Primal to begin with. Conventional medicine has utterly utterly failed in the quality of life issues which are ultimately all anyone cares about if you ask them.

Like you I have seen many of those close to me go and I am convinced that the manner of our death has more to do with what’s going on between the ears than anything else. I damn well am going to leave the healthiest corpse possible be it tomorrow or 40 years from now.

Chris
Chris
5 years 8 months ago

Life is not a journey to the grave
With the intention of
Arriving safely in a pretty
And well preserved body,
But rather to skid in broadside,
Thoroughly used up,
Totally worn out,
And loudly proclaiming,

Woo hoo !!!! What a ride!

Alison Golden
5 years 8 months ago

Gosh, this is sobering.

I’ve never come across the term ‘compression of morbidity’ before.

Recently I sat in a hospital waiting room with other people only slightly older than me. It was utterly depressing. I simply cannot contemplate ending up like that.

subwo
subwo
5 years 8 months ago
My dad, 86 is in hospice. He has been dying for 11 years. He almost died on Iwo Jima with massive head injury but was patched up with a steel plate, cured for blindness and had a good life up until 2000 when he cancer cost him his tongue and larynx. Being fed through a tube into stomach he was less active and finally became immobile. In and out of hospital and conv. care homes past 2 years. 24 hr oxygen for years. Now in bed in family room. He says that the reason he is hanging on is so… Read more »
Harmony
Harmony
5 years 8 months ago
Excellent piece! Mark, thank you for boldly writing what many of us think AND giving so many the forum to respond with their frustrations and concerns about loved ones. It seems in our society we view aging in negative terms and accept decrepitude as tne norm. As an aging woman who’s youth and bloom is behind her all I can say is–Like hell I am going to sit down and give up! I have worked hard to keep active and vibrant so that I can climb mountains when I want! We have to make a commitment to our health and… Read more »
Chris
Chris
5 years 8 months ago
I am currently in the USAF and it is amazing how many of my fellow “Airmen” are on physical profiles limiting them to do this or that. I am 36, have been CrossFitting for less than a year, and as paleo as possible for the last 3 months and I feel wonderful. It amuses me to be more mobile than the younger generations, while listening to the whining of those in my age range (my back, my knees, I can’t, etc…). I also wear Vibram’s, which are quite a shock to all, but I enjoy wearing them. According to the… Read more »
Alex Good
Alex Good
5 years 8 months ago

Yep. If I start to decay it’s straight to the extreme sports/war.

The Primal Commuter
5 years 8 months ago
What an important but too seldom discussed or understood subject. Your “I will not go quietly into the night” attitude is one that I embrace and try to live each day. After witnessing the long, slow, painful death of my mother, and now my grandmother (who just passed earlier this week), I have been re-evaluating what it means to “get old” and how one “thrives” not just “survives” after retirement. I look to my grandfather as the model. He lived to be 97 years old and lived independently until his last year. Although he was bedridden his last year, 96… Read more »
Mary
Mary
5 years 8 months ago
What a great post! I have thought alot about this since starting the Primal diet. I have family members in both extremes, from extremely active, happy, healthy and fit to in-active, unhappy, and loaded with medication. I have always been interested in being healthy, especially since I found out that I had Crohns…. I have found that the better my diet and exercise routines are, the better I feel. I am not a strict Primal, but I definitely make 90% Primal choices and make every effort to stay active. I am in my late 30’s and thought I was doomed… Read more »
Shelly
5 years 8 months ago

I love this! With all the fad diets/programs on the market, I’m only concerned with one thing: how can I live a long, healthy, active life? Not ‘what will help me lose the most weight’.
This post brings to mind something my daughter said when she was about 5 years old. Her great, great grandma had just died at the age of 93. Breanna said, “Little Mama lived her whole life and didn’t even die ’till the very end.” Profound, I know.

Sam
Sam
5 years 8 months ago

At 68, I’m active and vigorous — ran an 8-mile race last year, did leg presses (15X290, 10X310, 5X330) and thrusters with 50#, DL 3X10x110, BP 95# 3×2, and got a PR of 5X this morning, plus 70#KB swing 2X10, another PR). Cutting the carbs has made a difference, and action + diet = reduced morbidity. With luck, this old lady will avoid the deterioration I see in my male colleagues, some much younger than I.

ottercat
ottercat
5 years 8 months ago

My beloved grandfather dropped dead in his son’s arms at the age of 99 after walking to his favorite bookstore. He never used a cane or had to wear Depends. He was pretty deaf, but he said that 99% of what people were saying was unimportant and uninteresting anyway. That’s the way to go!

Old Spartan Saying
Old Spartan Saying
5 years 8 months ago

Come back with your shield… or on it.

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