How to avoid diseases and early death

The first obvious step in living longer is to not die. Let’s take a look at the leading causes of death in the western world. Here is the data from the CDC from the United States, for causes of death in 2020…

  • Heart disease: 696,962
  • Cancer: 602,350
  • COVID-19: 350,831
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 200,955
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 160,264
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 152,657
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 134,242
  • Diabetes: 102,188
  • Influenza and pneumonia: 53,544
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 52,547

Many of these are classified as preventable diseases, like heart disease, diabetes or strokes. Many could be caused by problems with the metabolic system, involving resistance to insulin and continual stress on the body. Many of them could theoretically be prevented or delayed by maintenance of the human body.

The decisions you make today and tomorrow can influence whether you encounter these problems in 10 to 20 years. Planning ahead to avoid them will let you live longer, and focus more proactively on increasing your healthspan — defined as the quality of your life and ability to reach your full potential.

The challenge here is that humans are wired to prioritize short-term result — a bias known as future discounting or present bias. Something that feels good today is a lot more appealing than a benefit for yourself 20 years from now. Tools like Gyroscope are designed to shorten that feedback loop and counteract that bias by giving you more responsive feedback about your lifespan than simply waiting 20 or 30 years.

While the framework and requirements applies to everyone equally, everyone has a different life and may have different challenges or areas with the most benefit. Note that success here doesn’t mean never enjoying yourself. It doesn’t mean never eating a processed food again, or never staying up late, or having to go to the gym every single day. It just means that 80% of the time you are checking those boxes correctly, and have healthy default habits!

It means on an average Tuesday, you are eating healthily and sleeping well. That means when it is your birthday or some special occasion, you can enjoy yourself without reducing your longevity or pushing your body beyond its limits. In fact, better health will let you enjoy yourself more often and have your health or energy be less of a limitation.

With these basics in place, we can start to proactively upgrade your physical and mental health. Beyond just damage control or avoiding death, let's explore the new behaviors that can help you live life to your full potential.