Healthy Aging Lessons from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging
“…Just like millions of Americans, the National Institute on Aging’s (NIA) Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) celebrates its 50th birthday in 2008. The study was the first to ask a most basic question: What is normal aging? There is still much to learn, but so far two major conclusions can be drawn from BLSA data.
First, “normal” aging can be distinguished from disease. Although people’s bodies change and can in some ways decline over time, these changes do not inevitably lead to diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, or dementia. A number of disorders that typically occur in old age are a result of disease processes, not normal aging.
Second, no single, chronological timetable of human aging exists. We all age differently. In fact, in terms of change and development, there are more differences among older people than among younger people. Genetics, lifestyle, and disease processes affect the rate of aging between and within all individuals…”