A quick online test can calculate our life expectancy

A quick online test can calculate our life expectancy

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Can the relative life expectancy be predicted? At least that is what Swedish scientists claim and thus cause a lot of discussion in the world of experts. An online questionnaire on ubble.co.uk enables women to answer eleven and men thirteen questions. At the end, the individual statistical life expectancy for the participant is calculated. Users between the ages of 40 and 70 can participate. But how useful and meaningful is the online test?

Based on the data from the so-called “UK Biobank”, Swedish scientists have determined factors that have a significant impact on the early risk of death and have developed an online test that predicts the likelihood of death in the next five years. Participating middle-aged men and women have to answer various questions and then learn how high their personal risk of death is.

Life expectancy also depends on social factors
For many people it is an enticing idea to know their own life expectancy, for others it is downright horror. With the risk calculator, which researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm developed based on data from UK Biobank, this should be possible. Based on different questions about health, lifestyle and family structures, such as "How many cars do you have?", "How many children did you have?" And "Have you ever been diagnosed with cancer from a doctor?" individual health risks are determined and statements can be made as to whether someone will leave life within the specified period.

The Swedish researchers Andrea Ganna from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and Professor Erik Ingelsson from the University of Uppsala used the UK biobank to analyze 655 factors that have an impact on the early risk of death. Subsequently, they were able to identify 13 factors for men and eleven for women that had a high impact and seemed suitable for predicting the probability of death. They summarized these factors in questions and developed the UK Longevity Explorer test (UbbLE test for short). Since then, brave people have been able to test the likelihood of their own death online over the next five years. The results of the Swedish studies were published in the specialist magazine "The Lancet".

Participants experience their risk of death after 13 questions
The online test is only for British participants between the ages of 40 and 70 and starts with questions about age and gender. However, the next question already seems a bit offbeat regarding the risk of death. Here, the participants are asked to state how many cars or vans they own and when asked the number of housemates in the household. There are also questions about tobacco consumption, the assessment of one's own state of health, the daily running load and previous illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, a recent heart attack or stroke. Other questions focus on personal burdens such as the death of close relatives or financial problems. At the end of the test, the "UbbLE age" is communicated. If this is above the actual age, the personal risk of death is higher than the average in the same age group.

Assessment of one's own state of health with great influence
The results of the Swedish researchers in their analysis of the data from the UK biobank confirm many of the findings already available, but individual results may come as a surprise. For example, it is not surprising that previous cancer had the greatest impact on the risk of death in women. For men, however, it was above all the assessment of their own health that was decisive, which is a small surprise given the large number of possible factors. The researchers cite smoking as another significant factor that applies to both ages regardless of disease. The online test takes all of these factors into account and predicts the risk of death based on them. However, a reliable statement is not possible here, the Swedish researchers concede. In this sense, however, the test is also not intended, but rather it should identify people at risk and improve their health awareness. The test could also help doctors and healthcare professionals identify high-risk individuals and assign them to specific risk groups. (ag)

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Video: How to Calculate Your Life Expectancy


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