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Commonalties Among Centenarians

By: Steven Goodman - Updated: 22 May 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Commonalties Of Centenarians What Do

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 Commonalties

Many 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.

Physical Commonalties

  • 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
  • Other Common Characteristics of Centenarians

    • 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

    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.

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    Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
    Certainly no one wants to live to be 100 but suffer from serious ailments. However, living to 100 years of age does not automatically mean you are going to suffer from poor health. Dr. Elrick found that many people in Hunzaland and Vilcabamba who were over 75 years of age were exceptionally vigorous in both mind and body. The key is diet and lifestyle although genetics is also very important.
    tom - 22-May-15 @ 3:17 AM
    Yes, there are tall people that live to be 100 years old, but my research shows most studies of centenarians show them to be quite short. For example, Cuban centenarian males average less than 5'2", Okinawan centenarian males, about 5', and Sardinian male centenarians, less than 5'3". Other studies on Northern Italians, Polish people, Yao people in Bama, China, and Hungarians also show they are in this height range. I know of no scientific study which found that centenarians are tall. Some studies have found that male centenarians average 5'7". With advances in medicine, I predict that there will be many tall people who reach 100+ years. For example, the famous economist, John Kenneth Galbraith, was 6'8" and lived to 98 years of age. However, as longevity researcher, Dr. Armand Leroi, has stated, short people are genetically programmed to live longer.
    www.humanbodysize.co - 21-Feb-13 @ 4:31 PM
    We're going to find more and more centenarians as people become more long-lived, and many of them won't conform to all the ideas mentioned above (although, medically, most probably will). The factors are bound to change over the years, and if we revisit this in, say, 20 years, we'll be looking at some very different things. Centenarians will still be a minority, but far less of one than we see today.
    Angela - 11-Jun-12 @ 10:00 AM
    All my grandparents and great-grandparents on my father's side lived to at least 87.My grandmother lived the longest.She lived to 100.The problem is I take after my mother!
    John - 19-Feb-12 @ 11:17 AM
    I think that all of the research is very interesting.We tend to have people on both my maternal grandmother and grandfather's side of the family.My great grandfather lived to be 100.My great-great aunt is still living and just celebrated her 103 birthday. My grandmother is 91 and will be 92 this month.She is recovering from her 4th fall.This time she broke her hip.She is already doing great and back home. She has never been a very healthy person but seems to overcome anything that comes her way.I am not sure I would want to live until I am 115. I believe like me most people are scared of being completely dependent on someone. If I were to live to that age I would want as good of quality of life as my grandmother and aunt.
    mlane - 15-Oct-11 @ 3:28 AM
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