At Medical Xpress there’s a recommendation that your parents, aunts, and uncles are a fair guideline for your own life expectancy:

(HealthDay)—Your chances of inheriting genes linked to longevity are highest if you come from a family with many long-lived members, researchers say.

And that includes aunts and uncles, not just parents.

Using databases at the University of Utah and in the Dutch province of Zeeland, investigators analyzed the genealogies of nearly 315,000 people from over 20,000 families dating back to 1740.

“We observed . . . the more long-lived relatives you have, the lower your hazard of dying at any point in life,” said study lead author Niels van den Berg. He is a doctoral student in molecular epidemiology at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

My reaction to that was maybe, maybe not.

I’m already 20 years older than my dad was at the time of his death so that’s not much of a model and, although my mom was nearly 90 when she died, she had smoked since she was 14, ultimately dying of lung cancer. What killed my dad wasn’t communicable or heritable (as far as anyone knows) and it wasn’t a “lifestyle disease”. I have no aunts or uncles so no help there, either.

When you go back to my grandparents’ generation, I’ve already outlived all of them. My paternal grandparents were chronic alcoholics and, basically, died of complications of alcoholism. My maternal grandmother died in her 40s of a brain aneurysm. My maternal grandfather basically just decided to die. He died of a medical condition that was readily treatable 80 years ago. He refused treatment. My parents’ aunts and uncles died fairly young but most frequently they died of conditions which today are readily treatable with antibiotics, TB being a biggie. Those who did not succumb to infectious diseases tended to be fairly long-lived. My mom’s Uncle Ed, for example, was in his 90s when he died.

I think I’m in unknown territory.

2 comments… add one
  • Andy Link

    “I think I’m in unknown territory.”

    Me too, I’m adopted.

  • Gray Shambler Link

    My father had a heart attack at 79 years, his father did at 78 years. Both
    survived. Grandpa for maybe a year on the couch. Dad for 10 years thanks to angioplasty and a pacemaker. But the timing is like clockwork.

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