Life Span, Life Expectancy, Decision-making in Medical Management and Life Plan Preparation
Reynaldo O. Joson, MD, MHA, MHPED, MSc Surg
March 24, 2013
I came across this table in the Net this week while studying on health status and health problems in a community.
My thoughts, perceptions, opinions, and recommendations (TPORs) on the use of this table are the following:
1. Life span and life expectancy can sometimes be used interchangeably. However, they are not always the same.
a. Life expectancy is the probable number of years a person will live after a given age, as determined by mortality in a specific geographic area. (Freedictionary.com) The probability statistics will change over time and with change in age (I will expound on this below.)
b. Life span is the probable number of years a person will live at the time of birth. Thus, the statistics at birth as seen in the table is the probable lifespan.
c. In 1949, when I was born, my probable lifespan at that time (this is equivalent to my life expectancy at birth) was somewhere between 40 to 50 (I have not located the exact statistics yet in year of 1949.) People born this year or last year have now a lifespan or life expectancy of 69 years.
d. This year, I am 64 going 65 years old. Looking at the table, my life expectancy using 65 years old row in the table is 78.4. This means I probably will have 13 more years to live. If I got to reach 70 years old, my life expectancy will be 80.6.
2. This table can be used as an aid in decision-making in medical management. Oftentimes, we heard relatives and doctors of patients saying “matanda na, huwag na lang.” This table, containing probability statistics, offers a more objective basis in deciding when to stop aggressive treatment because of age. Looking at the table, if a patient is 90 years old, his life expectancy is 3 years. At 100, his life expectancy is 1 year. With these data, decision on what to do on a patient with a certain age will be easier and more objective.
3. Lastly, this table can be used to facilitate formulation of a life plan. When I was aged 44 years, I formally formulated my life plan with a target of 70 years. If one looks at the table, at the row of “age 45,” the life expectancy at this age is currently 72. In 1993, when I was aged 44, the life expectancy was probably at 70.
My TPORs on the use of this table.