December 14, 2009

If you look old for your age, you probably actually are closer to death than you think.

I'm flipping the optimistic headline "People who look young for their age 'live longer.'"

19 comments:

Oligonicella said...

Cool. People are constantly guessing me at 7-10 years younger than I am.

wv: dessemis da breaks

Fred4Pres said...

"If you look old for your age, you probably actually are closer to death than you think."

With or without surgical enhancements?

TMink said...

Olig me too. In my case, it is likely cause I am fat though!
Trey

MadisonMan said...

Well aren't you a gloomy gus. That'll make you look old, you know. Just sayin'

Triangle Man said...

They are closer to death than young looking people, but I don't get the "than you think" part. I think the article makes the case that perceived age is predictive of health, indicating that older looking people are likely aware that they are circling the drain.

David said...

Closer to death every passing day. What a bummer. Why didn't someone tell us?

ricpic said...

Do baby faced people live longer than the big chins? Don't know the answer to that one but it would be the only way to determine whether look older die sooner is true.

Joe said...

Anecdotally, one grandmother in-law looked like she was at death's door for many years before she finally did die.

On the other hand, the other grandmother in-law was my dad's age and looked much older. Her extreme hypochondria finally paid off and she died in her 70s.

The irony is that this woman's mother was mowing her lawn into her 90s. My paternal grandmother was the same way.

Last year, I noticed that my 81 year-old father seemed to age ten years in one. He looked aged before, now he looks old. (Then again, I rarely see my parents; my brothers who post here and who see them more often may have a different assessment.)

edutcher said...

From William Manchester's book, "American Caesar" (not verbatim),

When Franklin Roosevelt ordered Douglas MacArthur to Hawaii in July, 1944 for a strategy conference, everyone was struck by the difference in the two men's appearances. Roosevelt, two years younger, "looked ghastly. MacArthur, on the other hand, looked younger than Springtime".

Roosevelt was dead within nine months, MacArthur lived another 20 years.

You never know.

Everyone tells me I look 10 - 12 years younger than my age, but I have Cushing's, so it probably all evens out in my case.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

This is a common shorthand indicator of overall health.
I used to have a job that required me to read a lot of medical records. It was really common for the doctor, when recording his/her general overview of how the patient presented, to comment on whether the patient "appeared his/her stated age."

Michael Hasenstab said...

Well crap.

traditionalguy said...

The Death Panels now have a science that will help them to impartially deny care to the worn out, empty shells type of people. This will mean that reasonable people can now conquer death by sending others there first. Itsounds like another insane plan from the Health Care Nazis.

dbp said...

Michael Hasenstab said...

Well crap.

Aw, you don't look a day over 40. If you happen to be 30 then I am very, very sorry.

As for myself, I've always looked young for my age but I am pretty careless and so will likely get run over by a truck, or some other preventable and untimely demise.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Aw, you don't look a day over 40. If you happen to be 30 then I am very, very sorry.

Twenty three.

c3 said...

in other news, scientists have now conclusively proven that bears shit in the woods.

traditionalguy said...

The sign at WalMart checkout said that their policy on checking IDs for alcohol was "We check everyone under 40". Now how do they manage to do that? And its more insulting to be impliedly told that you do not look 39 after all.

janemariemd said...

Just to echo lyssalovelyredhead, we DO have that habit in clinical medicine, of stating that the patient appeared "older than stated age", or "younger than stated age". I wonder if its validity has ever been studied; either it's just another habit we doctors have that has no proven ability to reliably measure anything, or there is something to it.

Many chronic diseases (and/or their treatments) can wreak havoc on a person's looks; I am thinking of chronic liver or kidney disease, and cancer of course. Heavy smoking, other drug abuse, and also extensive sun exposure do the same.

The comment about "surgical enhancements" is funny--people with lots of plastic surgery (why is it mostly women?) don't look old, just ... fake. And, you can look at their necks and hands and figure out the tight look on their faces is phony. To me, Joan Rivers looks like she ought to be in constant pain, given the tight look of her sculpted face.

Bruce Hayden said...

This is scary stuff. I am a year away from 60, and all of a sudden, am getting asked if I want the senior discount. I ask about it, and they respond that it is for people over 65. Scary stuff. I think that it comes from having had a bit too much sun without using enough sunscreen (I have been avidly skiing for almost 50 years now).

On the other hand, my girlfriend of the last decade is in her early 50s, and she jokes sometimes that I am her father. She has extremely high prominent cheekbones, which she thinks keep her face from sagging, and religiously stays out of the sun due to alergies and skin cancers. She also exercises a couple of hours every day, which keeps much of the rest of her from sagging (though not as much as she thinks - but that is something that I would be suicidal to tell her).

Early in our relationship, when she was in her early 40s, we went to her son's graduation party from college. The bar carded her, and she was (supposedly) outraged. They apparently thought that I was the father, and she the sister.

I have been noticing how the women of my generation started looking old as they went through their 50s. But I figured that most of us guys were at least temporarily immune. Well, that immunity has worn off, and we are now starting to look our age.

To some extent, I do think that it does revolve around overall health. My peers who have the worst health look the oldest. They are the ones who didn't exercise or take care of themselves.

That said, I would expect that this would work better with men, who, mostly, don't worry as much about their looks, etc. Women can, and routinely do, have cosmetic surgery done, and if not done too much, and done well, can make them look noticeably younger. Oh, and most of them dye their gray hair (I have been threatening to do so for years now, but cannot decide what color I want to be - I have been thinking blond, since said girl friend thinks she is blond, and I could show her what a real blond looks like).

The other thing that affects many women are their hormone levels. I remember about 25 years ago with my mother's hiking club - you could tell at about 20 feet which of the women were on hormone replacement therapy, and which weren't. It only got worse later, as those who weren't were noticeably more affected by osteoporosis.

The Crack Emcee said...

People are constantly guessing me at 10-15 years younger than I am and I don't do shit "for my health". My roommates - two older libs - are always getting out in nature, and trying to improve their health, but look like shit. My take:

Knowing how to live is more important than trying to perfect it.