Commonalties Among Centenarians
If you are a regular reader of these pages you have come to meet some interesting and astounding centenarians. And while they all come from a wide range of geographical locations, lifestyles, and backgrounds, you have no doubt started to see a pattern of some common traits among the members of the 100-year old club. One of the goals researchers have for looking at this remarkable and rapidly growing population,is to find these patterns of commonalities among centenarians,and then see how conclusions can be drawn that can slow aging and perhaps extend lifespan for us all. Here then are some specific commonalties that researchers have found among all centenarians.
One of the most interesting commonalties found across the board when researching centenarians no matter what part of the world they are from was the fact that they all reported being very active well into their 80's and 90's. Many said they were even still working. They only reported a drop-off in functionality and activity level after crossing the centenarian threshold.
Geographic CommonaltiesMany centenarian researchers debunk the claims of areas in the world that are oases of extremely old persons. Such as the claims of 150-year-olds running around the Russian Caucuses. Yet, there do seem to be geographic clusters were people do tend to live longer, if not necessary achieving the rank of centenarians. Take for example in North America, where there seems to exist a "centenarian belt" extending from Minnesota to Nova Scotia. Such clustering has been linked to the so-called "founder effect", which stipulates that many of these centenarians likely sprang from a common a "founder" In other words an ethnic background such as Celtic, or Scottish that predisposes them to living longer. This hypothesis is based upon the findings of recent centenarian studies that indicate extreme old age does indeed run in families.
- It has been found that many centenarians share several common genetic traits, including certain mutations that have been shown to prolong life.
- Many centenarians are tall, and lean. Few if any are obese
- Most centenarians have not suffered from the "typical" illnesses or syndromes associated with "old age" i.e.: Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease
- Most centenarians showed no signs of cognitive difficulties or dementia prior to age 92
- Most never smoked heavily or abused alcohol
- A surprising number of centenarian women had children late in life, after 40. It would seem to indicate that a fertile reproductive system well beyond 40, is an overall indication of a body that is "aging" slower then "normal"
- Most centenarians have children that seem to be following in their footsteps, that are in their 70's or 80's with very few age related disorders
- Most centenarians have at least one other long-lived close relative in their family histories
- Most centenarians have an innate ability to deal with stress
- Many centenarians live in non-industrial and less toxic environments
- Most centenarians are profound believers in the spiritual, and are actively involved in their religion
Other Common Characteristics of Centenarians
Centenarians are certainly a group of astounding individuals, each with their own particular rational for his or her longevity. However when we look at the commonalties amongst this admittedly diverse group, a picture begins to emerge that may bring each of us a little closer to that 100-year milestone.