According to the international health indicators, one of the most used measures to know the quality of life of a country is the life expectancy of its citizens. It is understood that, if those live a certain average of years over global ones, there are necessary conditions to rank that healthcare system as “high-quality”. Nevertheless, given that some people think that life expectancy in developed countries is getting closer to the reachable limit of human beings, a new concept enters the scene: health-span.
At the end of 80s, John W. Rowe and Robert L. Kahn used this word for first time in an article of Science magazine: “A revolutionary rise of longevity has already happened. The next gerontological aim should be one associated with health span, the maintenance of full functions as much as possible until the end of life”. Lining both longevities remains still as a challenge to be conquered.
Healthy life expectancy is another similar and supplementary indicator, because it measures the average time of life that someone lives full healthy physically and mentally. At the same time that health-span becomes a key trend in medical focus, the rise of pathologies holds up and grows healthy life expectancy.
As American gerontologists said, this new conception is changing the way to perceive aging, before associated with more negative image, just as our decline. The remaining question is: will it be also modified our way to take preventive measures and to deal with diseases?