Death isn’t exactly the cheeriest of subjects to start the day with, but unfortunately it’s something of an inevitability for us all. In one way or another, death consumes our daily thinking, whether it’s reading about the latest cancer scare, or protecting ourselves against everyday risks.
So given our collective obsession about the subject, is it actually possible to predict when we’re going to die? Scientists are continually researching to determine just that.
Last year Finnish scientists found that a simple blood test could predict the chance of death within five years by looking for biomarkers linked to cancer, heart disease and diabetes. They found that they could spot a general level of ‘frailty’ which increased the risk of early death, even if the person wasn’t actually ill. It’s hoped that this test could give people an early warning of underlying health issues before they are even aware they have any.
More recently, another group of researchers published a report in the Lancet Medical Journal claiming they have developed the most accurate indicator of five year mortality ever created. Their simple five-minute online test can accurately determine someone’s chance of surviving the next five years. The website, called Ubble (for UK Longevity Explorer), also tells people their “Ubble age”. If their Ubble age is lower than their real age, then their risk of early death is also low. If it is higher, then people might like to think about making possible improvements to their health such as stopping smoking and a better diet. If you are aged between 40 and 70, you can take the test at www.ubble.co.uk.
While it can be hard not to take a simple online questionnaire with a pinch of salt, the reality is that most people are notoriously bad at predicting their own life expectancy. And this becomes more pronounced the older you get. You may be making financial and lifestyle decisions based on an underlying assumption about how long you think you are going to live, and you may not even realise you’re doing it.
Michael Ward, Managing Director of PayingTooMuch.com said “Thinking about your life expectancy might not be as crazy or morbid as it sounds. Believe it or not, it can actually save you money. At PayingTooMuch.com we can give you a personalised insurance report, which will give you an idea of your life expectancy based on some simple questions. You can use this report to select the right type of life insurance product for you, with the most appropriate length of term.”
In the meantime, if you’re feeling particularly morbid, take a look at www.deathclock.com. After asking you a few simple questions, it will give you a personal date of death. It doesn’t appear to have much scientific basis, but it’s a bit of fun!