Enoch Choi, MD  
Male, 46
Palo Alto, CA

Specialties: Family Medicine

Interests: sinusitis, Migraine, Low back pain
Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Urgent Care
Palo Alto, CA
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World's longest living person passes away... Do you want to live to 115?

Dec 02, 2008 - 32 comments









The oldest person in the world has passed away, at 115, and she had few points of wisdom to share.  When asked she said her secret was "more education" although her own education finished with teaching school.  Instead, she taught us by her own example:

- she stayed active.  She was seen pushing others around in her wheelchair in her nursing home.

- she stayed with her family.  Until 100 years old, she lived with a son, and had family surrounding her, keeping her connected and loved

- she overcame tragedy.  Her husband, a farmer, died at a young age, and she kept loved ones around her to replace her loss

- she practiced moderation, echewing vices such as tobacco & wine.  If you do imbibe, as I do, practice moderation.

Here's to your health, and may you live to as ripe an old age!

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by tpinkham, Dec 02, 2008
If we go back to 1893 when she was born and think about the average life span of a woman...  WOW!  I would like to live half as long as she did!  I am about to turn 40 this January and I am not healthy.  I feel like I am 18 inside, but I could not run to save my life.  I am super morbid obese, pre-diabetic, high chlosetral, curvature of the C-spine, Polycistic ovarian syndrome, classic migrane sufferer, irratialbe bowel syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sleep apnea, and yet I love going to work everyday!   I feel healthy, and I don't complain about these things but my family and Dr. never let me forget that I am not a healthy person.  Who knows, maybe I will outlive them all!

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by Enoch Choi, MDBlank, Dec 02, 2008
tpinkham, some of those things are reversible with diet and exercise...  it's worth working on it to be able to enjoy good health with our families however long we have with them...

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by wonko, Dec 02, 2008
I agree and relate to the comments.

I too was a relatively healty unhealthy person:  BMI of 40+, smoker, regular beer drinker, junk food diet.  But I was in seemingly good overall health.  However, carrying around the weight and bad habits makes your health much more precarious.  If you do get sick while still in those habits, it will be even harder to change and lead to faster progression of illness.  I'm glad tpinkham is able to cope with all of those problems, but you really never know when that back-breaking straw is coming.

Thanks to the Dr. for noting that diet and exercise really can reverse a lot of conditions.  We hear it all the time, but as someone whose life reformations are still under construction, I never get tired of being reminded.

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by Enoch Choi, MDBlank, Dec 02, 2008
wonko, thanks for encouraging tpinkham and me!

i'm overweight and overindulge in junk food & alcohol as well...  i'm trying to be more moderate and lose weight by exercising, walking the dog, playing with the kids...  stay in front of the computer screen a little less ;)


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by Lulu54, Dec 02, 2008
Wonko, I'm not sure what forum this is in but I can definitely relate - your bad habits were all my bad habits before my heart attack in January.  I have since given them up and lost 4 sizes - almost 50 pounds through moderation and adding exercise into my routine. The exercise wasn't added until my diagnosis of MS this fall.  I actually find now I enjoy it and today during my lunch hour I went swimming!

back to your original question - my grandfather lived to almost 101, his sister made it to 106.  Longevity genes run in my family...... but no, I don't want to live that long.  Even if you are living with your children and have constant companionship there is an underlying loneliness that doesn't go away. You have outlived your peers, your spouse, often your own children.  

Be well everyone and take care of yourself - you can't expect anyone else to do it for you!

Avatar universal
by 1nana, Dec 02, 2008
No Thanks!

What kind of quality of life does a 115 year old have? Not much!

I can't imagine living another 62 years! Besides, with all the heart disease and diabetes that runs in my family, I'm sure I'll kick the bucket way before that.

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by wonko, Dec 02, 2008
For the record--I'm reformING and not reformED, so I'm no role model!  I'm down about 40 lbs and at about 8 smoke (and alcohol) free months.  Whippee!!!

I'm 29, and not sure I can imagine what 115 would feel like....but I think LuLu and wannabenana make good points.

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by swampcritter, Dec 02, 2008
How much of this is lifestyle, and how much is genetics? George Burns smoked and drank, yet he lived a very long life beating the statistics.

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by margypops, Dec 02, 2008
I guess it would all depend on the quality of life you have at any age, if the person was happy and had a bunch of people caring for her and she had stimulation in her life why not, yes I say bring it on,.

Avatar universal
by 1nana, Dec 02, 2008
Great point, Swampy!

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by April2, Dec 02, 2008
She was also thin, I heard.
I, too, wonder how much is lifestyle and how much is genetics? Like Swampy said, George Burns lived to a ripe old age and was always chomping on a cigar!
I don't seem to have the greatest genetics, which scares me a little bit. Too many died too young in my extended family. A lot of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. in my family. I try to be healthy but I don't get fanatic about it.

Avatar universal
by bernie40, Dec 02, 2008
There is a saying over here which is "creaking gates hang the longest"!  If that's the case i shall be very very old - groan ;-)

Avatar universal
by cowgirlnerd, Dec 02, 2008
H*ll to the No!  I would be a MEAN old woman...

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by Cherie762, Dec 02, 2008
about the smoking its well quoted smoking kills 2 out of every 3 who smokes , so one lives, maybe with copd, or emphesema, or to be old like George Burns ....those arent odds Im willing to play with.Ive seen people die from lung cancer it aint pretty.

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by April2, Dec 02, 2008
Me too. I've had to watch several people in my family die from smoking. You're right, it's not pretty.

And can we not cuss? Good grief, this is a doctor's journal, for crying out loud.

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by roberdho2002, Dec 03, 2008
i believe that living longer also a GOD destiny whatsoever our health condition  is.....

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by tpinkham, Dec 03, 2008
Wow!  I did not mean to get everyone going on poor health.  I was the original post at the beginning for those of you who joined late.  Thank you for the health improvement advice.  I see my Dr. once a month, and do try to eat right and excercise.  I have 3 Basset Hounds, 3 cats, a bird, a daughter and yes even a husband to keep me busy on top of a full time job.  I don't have a maid, chef, or nanny.  I work in my school district.  I keep busy.  

My BMI is at 50+, and the reason I go once a month to the Dr. is I am in the gastric bypass program.  I plan to get it in a few months.  If all goes well and I loss half my body weight, then a lot of the health problems I have will go away.  I could do gymnastics again, run, and ride bikes with my daughter.

I would love to live to see my daughter grow old, and see all her children and grandchildren, and so on.  I am not sure if I want to see the rest of the world and what is going to happen with it.

The best of health to all of you.

Avatar universal
by PlateletGal, Dec 03, 2008
Hi Dr. Choi,

I just wanted to say that it is good to see you posting again.... I missed your posts.

Happy Holidays !

Avatar universal
by Kat_K13, Dec 03, 2008
I couldn't imagine living that long. especially with the fear that I'd have lost most of the people I cared for.

Avatar universal
by Chris888, Dec 03, 2008

My grand mother lived to two weeks short of 96. She was born 1894 died 1990. Turns out she is really my "adopted grand mother" and was actually a great aunt. She was second wife to my adopted grand father (who died in 1946) and had no children herself. My grand parents had un-officially "adopted" my father since he lost his parents. Gran as she was known to me was always part of our family and was the youngest of a family of 7. She was always very thin, never had any wrinkes and ate refined white bread and sugar. She smoked for a very short time but had a glass of medium dry sherry every afternoon at about 4pm. The last time we spoke was when I rang her to tell of our first baby arriving, which would have been her first "adopted" great grand child. She said she was feeling very tired. She had spoken to the Church Miinister and told him she was ready to go. RIP.
She lead a pretty simple and un-cluttered life and had all her "marbles" untill the end. Her eyesight was gettimg worse and she lived in a retirement home for the last few years after he last sister passed away. We used to visit her every fortnight and take a bunch of carnation flowers. We also smuggled in medium dry cherry in a brown paper bag. Her Doctor told her to keep having this. Once we smuggled in our cat for a visit. She loved cats. She was the centre of the family and we often spoke on the phone.
Were do I stop - could go on for ages!

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by April2, Dec 04, 2008
Most of the people in my family died young except my grandmother. She, too, had all her marbles right to the end. That's how I want to be! Her mind was sharp. She was one smart lady. She beat cancer three times. She almost made it to her 90th birthday. She wanted a big party. We just didn't think it would be in Heaven! She was very petite, my little grandma! I loved her so much, still do. I think she'd still be alive if she hadn't fallen and broken her hip. She went downhill from there. Three months later she fell again and died a couple of weeks later. I don't know why that is, but I've heard many times of that happening, that when they fall and break their hip they go downhill. I miss her so much still.

Avatar universal
by Rob2008, Dec 04, 2008
I live in the southeast US where obesity is commonplace.   Has anyone ever noticed that everyone over the age of 80 is as skinny as a rail?     No one who is overweight survives that long!    I need to lose about 60 pounds to get my health back on track,  but 100 pounds would have women's heads turning again.

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by tpinkham, Dec 04, 2008
Good news everybody!  I saw my Dr. today and she wants to get going with the lapband surgery.  Maybe by this time next year, I would not have to feel guilty about sitting on Santa's lap!  I will live to be 115, I know I will!  Thanks Dr. Choi !

Avatar universal
by BionicBabe, Dec 05, 2008
I saw the article about this 115 year old woman and I felt very inspired by her story. It sounds to me like she did have quality of life! It would be hard to outlive so many close people. She outlived her two sons...that would definitely be hard. I think there defnitely is something to being skinny. I read somewhere that a near starvation diet is healthy and enables people to live longer. I don't know if that is true; perhaps the good doctor can comment.

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by Burrpatch, Dec 06, 2008
lol .... I'm just trying to get through today !! Can I take a rain check ?

Avatar universal
by dreastborne, Dec 08, 2008
great story! thank you!

Avatar universal
by SPGB, Dec 09, 2008
For me, I am 24+ yrs old and my great-grandfather and grandfather lived till 70 plus yrs. My father is 59 this year and he is fat but he is still healthy and looks like he is going to live till 70+ yrs. But I don't want live till that long. For me, 62 is long enough for me.

Avatar universal
by Kizzie_S, Dec 09, 2008
I am new here, and saw this post, thought I would pass along my 2 cents worth.
We had a family I grew up with, we were like cousins ( I knew them better than my real ones, as we were both Military families and moved to all of the same places). My friends Granny, her Great Grandmother, was over 100 when she passed away. She was spunky and active and the best French cook ever. She walked every day and worked up until she just couldn't anymore. The sweetest/weirdest part was that she "Took care of old people". They were all younger than her, but she felt they needed the help. She was an amazing woman. Just goes to show, Attitude has as much to do with longevity as diet.
My healthy Great-Aunt gave up and willed herself to die, because she thought she was sick. She wasn't and had beaten her cancer. She just gave up.
Thanks for sharing your stories everyone, I stumbled across this site while trying to figure out what might be wrong with me.
Happy Holidays

Avatar universal
by jennyslim, Dec 09, 2008
Hello, I put my 3 cents worth I  am 45 I feel verry healthy my weight is 216 lb I am trying to lose off some, I realy dont have any health problem, but I would like to live even to 200 years old, as long I am healthy and can take care of my self Thanks to you all for sharing your stories Happy Holidays.

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by KixNgo, Dec 10, 2008
Ok, we got 2 cents, 3 cents, here's my 4th 'sense'

Everyday above ground.. is a good day. =)

As Spock says "Live long and prosper."

Avatar universal
by dwzxzx, Mar 26, 2009
My humble opinion: Stress and the mind is the biggest killer. People give up, often after a late life traumatic event (Losing a loved one  etc.. or even due to change of habit or loss of specific interests). A little alcahol a day oils the body (Red wine is best). Smoking, in small and regular amounts can be got away with in some cases. The most important thing is to be happy/positive in the mind and respectfull of our shell (Body) after all we are just a complex system of molecular reactions/systems with a bit of spirt and magic added. The more people abuse thier bodies the more the effects our attidude and mind can have on our well being and general health. The body can get used to abuse in small and regular amounts and lets face it we are all a product of our environment of which smoking and drinking is a part. Good diet, excerise, low stress, high tolerance and a few vices mixed with active social and sex life is surely the key. Stubborness and strong willed people often live longer also. I am no expert but makes sense to me. The more people obsess about there health the worse they get. This is only an opinion. Long live all of us - and lets stop having so many kids or our personal health is the last thing we will need to worry about - the end is nigh (but not untill at least 2060 please - when I will be 78). All the best.

Avatar universal
by boo41, Apr 28, 2010
i have some one in my failmy that just turned 102!

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