2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Will You Live Another Five Years?

Of course you might not want to know the answer to that. Or, having worked diligently on healthful eating and regular exercise, you may want to know if it will all pay off. Now, in a joint project between Swedish statisticians and a half million (!) volunteers in the UK, there’s a simple questionnaire that provides a pretty decent guesstimate on your odds of enjoying Christmas, 2020.

At Uppsala University in Sweden, between 2006 and 2010, health researchers set up a databank project called the UK Biobank (here’s the full report as published in The Lancet). They collected data from 655 measurements of demographics, health, and lifestyle, including blood samples, bone density, family history, weight, blood pressure, and so on, from 498,103 UK volunteers aged 40 to 70. The study didn’t include anyone younger than 40 because among younger people the most frequent causes of death are accidents, gunshot wounds, and suicides rather than chronic illnesses.

Excluded from the study were those who already had major illnesses such as cancer, heart diseases, or poorly controlled diabetes, as this would alter the data. They were seeking only people with nothing specifically wrong with them.

Mountains of data
Having amassed a mountain of data, the researchers then tracked developing health problems, as well as any deaths, as they appeared among the half million. The project ended in 2014. At that point, statisticians reviewed everything and found, to their surprise, that a series of simple health questions could predict whether or not the volunteers where in danger of dying within five years.

Although poor health’s usual suspects–high cholesterol, obesity, and alcohol excess–continued to be significant dangers to health, the researchers had uncovered a tool to predict longevity that required no physical exams or blood tests.

Once alerted to risks, here was an opportunity for change.

Ubble questionnaire
Before you leap into the questionnaire (either basking at the thought of many years ahead or getting your affairs in order), let me add a couple of comments about the questions themselves.

  • Your “danger” answers are opportunities. For example, a major predictor of longevity is how fast you walk. I wrote a Health Tip about this in 2013. The fix is pretty simple: if you’re a slow walker, speed up. Obviously, if you’ve got a disability that slows you down, like obesity or a bum knee, it will be challenging to speed up. But it’s not impossible to lose weight, work with a physical therapist, or even get a joint replacement so you can get moving again.
  • The second most accurate predictor of your longevity is how you yourself–not your family, not your doctor–perceive your own health. This profound self-fulfilling prophecy of personal judgment has been known for years. What you think of your health is actually a greater predictor than the reality of your situation. You believing that you are really healthy seems to send a message to every cell in your body to keep up the good work.
  • About smoking, the questionnaire confirmed again that you will add some years if you simply stop, right now. It’s really pathetic that Walgreen’s (“at the corner of happy and healthy”) is one of the largest purveyors of tobacco in the US.
  • One question refers to having a “blue badge.” That’s the UK/EU version of our disability placard. If you’ve got one and if you’re getting better, try not using it and maybe even not renewing it. Yes, disability parking is necessary when you’re disabled, but the study implies, like being on disability itself, a negativism about your health that in the end might come back to bite you (or chop some years away).
  • Biologic vs. chronologic When you complete the questionnaire, you’ll get what they call your Ubble Age, their term for something we’re already familiar with–namely, your biologic age as opposed to your actual chronologic age.

Here’s the Ubble link.

Be well,
David Edelberg, MD

Leave a Comment


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Upcoming Workshops

**Pain Relief with Myofascial Balls
Tuesday, October 29, 6-8pm
With Renee Zambo, C-IAYT Yoga Therapist

Course Fee: $65.00
(includes WholeHealth Chicago Myofascial Release Kit, $40 value)

Does that same spot in your neck, shoulders, back or hips seem to bother you every day? Do you have joint aches and pains in the hands and feet? Would you like to learn ways to alleviate that pain and tension?

Join WholeHealth Chicago’s Yoga and Movement Therapist Renee Zambo for an evening of muscle tension release with myofascial therapy balls.

Space is limited and registration is required.
Please register online.
Call the Center for additional information at (773) 296-6700
More>>

Recent Health Tips

  • Dandruff, Fungi, and Cancer of the Pancreas

    It’s an eye-catching title, I’ll admit. But the links are quite real and further research may guide medicine in new directions of cancer prevention and treatment. It all starts in your gut microbiome, the totality of microorganisms–bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi–present in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, mouth to anus. Until recently, researchers and clinical physicians alike paid virtually no attention to the microbiome and the Read More

  • New Hope For Sinus Sufferers

    When osteopath Dr. Rob Ivker moved to Colorado in the 1980s to set up his family practice, he had no idea that when he stepped off the plane he’d succumb to symptoms of chronic sinusitis that just wouldn’t go away: stuffy nose, thick mucus, pressure behind his cheekbones and above his eyebrows, dull aching headache, and thick goopy drainage in the back of his throat. Read More

  • Director of IV Therapies Katie McManigal, BSN, ANP

    Most people at some point in their lives have had an intravenous (IV) line. An adept nurse warned you about the tiny pinch of the needle as it was smoothly inserted and taped in place.  Then the  fluid dangling above your head slowly started making its way through a tube and into your body. IVs are all over the place in hospitals. They’re seen in Read More

October Sale – Save 20% off UltraMeal Rice

UltraMeal RICE is a tasty, non-dairy, nutritionally fortified, powdered meal replacement for those who want to support healthy body composition but may be sensitive to soy.

Click here to take advantage of this month’s promotion!