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Tips for Increasing Lifespan During COVID

by De C - October 26 , 2020


Photo Credit: by ismail kaya, flickr.com
Photo Credit: by ismail kaya, flickr.com

Pandemics have a way of altering the course of things, as we’ve very well seen. One area that many of us might not have given much thought to, is our overall life expectancy. Life expectancy is really just an indicator that takes in multiple factors and determines the number of years an average person could potentially live. However, a new study that’s recently been released in PLOS One journal, shows the novel coronavirus could very likely reduce life expectancy in the regions most affected by the disease.

Life Expectancy Could Be on the Decline

Life expectancy has steadily risen more than 100% over the past 160 years. In 1860, living to 40 was the overall average lifespan. Now, we’re edging closer to 80 years old as the average. However, COVID-19 has the potential to alter our longevity—and not for the better.

In 1918, our gradual lifespan increase took a knock, dropping by a whopping 11.8 years, thanks to the 1918 flu pandemic. The same could be heading our way, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

North America and Europe have a large, rapidly aging population and with larger rates of infection come a higher mortality rate. One of the researchers involved in the study said that it provides an alternative way to quantify COVID-19’s cost on human life around the world. It also provides a way to compare the scale and impact with previous pandemics.

More than 500 million deaths around the globe were tied to the 1918 flu. But what makes COVID-19 different is those who are most affected. The 1918 flu impacted the younger generations, between their teens and early 40’s—with the average being 28 years of age. The coronavirus, in contrast, has affected mostly the elderly. Because of this difference, we likely won’t see as significant of a drop in life expectancy as we did with the 1918 flu.

However, the coronavirus has also had a disproportionately high impact on African Americans, Latino, and Native Americans. With this in mind, these communities may see a more dramatic drop.

As of right now, the study is based solely on a simulation. With that in mind, it’s important to note that models like this aren’t always 100% accurate. They can’t predict outside of their pre-programmed parameters. So, if new data comes in, it could change the entire landscape of the prediction.

Can You Predict Your Life Expectancy?

Scientific discoveries have propelled us from a species with a life expectancy of 40 years to 80. So, is it any surprise that we may even be able to calculate our own personal lifespan? A newly developed app called My Longevity is a life expectancy calculator that claims it can help you find your own personal life expectancy.

By answering a few very basic questions, it calculates everything together and gives you your life expectancy, your BMI (body mass index), and your QRISK for having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years.

While the app may seem morbid, it may also spur many people to take better care of themselves and perhaps, even develop new, healthier habits. In terms of COVID-19, that may mean finding ways to boost their immune system and protect their lungs.

Vitamin D & COVID

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in your immune system and how it functions. It has an anti-inflammatory property, as well. When the body doesn’t have enough vitamin D, it has been linked to decreased lung function and associated with many respiratory diseases ranging from asthma to COPD.

Thanks to German researchers, it was brought to light that people with respiratory illness who also have a vitamin D deficiency were 3x more likely to die. In correlation to this discovery, researchers at Northwestern University analyzed data from ten countries and found individuals who were vitamin D deficient were twice as likely to suffer from serious complications if they contracted COVID-19.

Two populations have been impacted hardest by the novel coronavirus: the elderly and African Americans. Two groups who are also very commonly vitamin D deprived.

While there’s currently no cure to COVID-19, maintaining a healthy level of vitamin D seems to help reduce the adverse effects and likelihood of death from this disease. A recent study found that a blood level of vitamin D of at least 30 ng/mL was best. Taking vitamin D supplements to increase your blood levels to this point also reduced mortality in older adults, who are most at risk for developing life-threatening respiratory illnesses like COVID-19.

While getting enough vitamin D is definitely a good thing, it’s also important to be aware of how much vitamin D you’re ingesting. Too much can be toxic and lead you to develop kidney and heart problems. In order to reach that ideal blood level, you’ll want to keep your daily intake to 25-100mcg (or 1000-4000 IU). This includes all sources of vitamin D, though—not just in supplemental vitamins. If you are extremely deficient, it is possible that your doctor might have you increase your intake beyond those recommendations until your blood level has been brought back into optimal range. Do not do this without a physician’s supervision.

If you’re looking to add quality vitamin D and calcium into your daily diet, try Nutrazul, by Pharmaris, Canada. It provides 500mg of calcium and 2.5 mcg of vitamin D in an easy to digest and absorb effervescent tablet. For those of you who may have been taking Calcium Sandoz Forte, Sandoz Canada has recently withdrawn the 500mg effervescent tablet from the market.

While supplementing vitamin D can increase your immune system response and hypothetically increase your lifespan, it cannot protect you from contracting COVID-19. Continue to follow the proper sanitary protocols, like wearing your mask in public, washing your hands thoroughly (and often) with soap and water, and maintaining proper social distancing. Talk with your doctor about supplementing vitamin D during these challenging times. When you’re ready to add vitamin D supplements, or are in need of other medications, Canada Wide Pharmacy will be here to provide the very best medications at affordable prices.

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