Modern medicine has worked miracles as life expectancy has nearly doubled since 1900, when the average American lived to the ripe old age of 49, according to the National Institute on Aging

Today, Americans can expect to live 78.6 years, dipping slightly from last year's rates due to increased deaths from opioid overdoses and suicides, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The good news is that fewer people are dying from heart disease and cancer, which remain the leading cause of death in the United States.

The key to healthy aging is a healthy lifestyle, doctors agree. Younger bodies tend to gracefully absorb unhealthy choices. But as the body ages, it rebels against this toxic burden through pain, inflammation, fatigue, chronic illness and disease.

"It's human nature to get away with what you can for as long as you can," says Dr. James O'Keefe, a cardiologist at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute. "I'm convinced that prevention is the future of medicine."

Staying forever young means prioritizing diet, sleep, social connections and exercise. And in that order, the doctor stresses.

Read the rest of the 435 Magazine article here on the four ways to increase your life expectancy.

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