Aging is not so much a matter of counting birthdays as of changes in fitness, in the way your body works and reacts. If your body changes enough that you look, feel, and function differently than when you were younger, age may be overtaking you.
Chronological age and biological age not the same. Aging is a physiological process that at times is only remotely connected to how old you are. How you look is sometimes an indicator of you biological age, but appearances often can be deceptive.
Without the diseases of premature aging, normal human life expectancy is estimated to be 120 years. Most people are capable of living their lives without pain and suffering caused by such chronic degenerative diseases.
Unfortunately, conventional medical care has focused more on symptom relief with pain medications and surgical procedures and less on reversing the accelerated aging process, which is potentially more effective over the long term. If premature aging can be halted and normal function reestablished, then people not only will live longer but also will have a higher quality of life with the elimination of pain.
Although the disease process and the aging process may run concurrently, they are not the same thing. You can get sick and even die from many diseases common to old age, but you don't have to get old to have such diseases. And if you maintain an optimal level of wellness, you should be able to get older without automatically and inescapably being condemned to the pain, discomfort and disabilities associated with many disease states. Growing old and getting sick simply are not interchangeable or even inextricably linked processes.
Premature aging of the brain, circulation, heart, joints, skin, digestive tract, and immune system can begin at any time of life. Various factors cause the body to deteriorate, including injuries that do not heal completely, allergies, toxic chemicals, and heavy metals, poor nutrition, excessive radiation sunlight, overwhelming stress, and inactivity.
Sometimes premature aging occurs without any symptoms until, suddenly, there is a catastrophic event such as a heart attack, cancer, or a stroke. Other times, atrophy or tissue wasting can occur, as in muscle weakness with lack of exercise, mucous membrane and glandular deterioration with decreased hormone levels and brain atrophy in Alzheimer's disease.
Frequently, however, a body that is aging prematurely sends a message to its owner that it is malfunctioning. The most common message is pain. The cause of the pain might include such factors as inflammation, joint instability, insufficient blood supply, or pressure within an organ or on surrounding tissues.
The earliest and most obvious signs include men losing their hair and men and women needing reading glasses because of presbyopia (inability to focus on near objects).
Patients should not accept professional advice that they are "just getting older" or that they "will just have to learn to live with it" or that there is "nothing more we can do". Anti-aging therapy and complementary medicine offers innovative approaches now, that will likely become common practice this century.
A health restoration program could include many modern laboratory assessments such as testing for antioxidant status, digestive analysis, immune system function, hormone status, circulation, and other aging markers. Then a comprehensive treatment program can be established that emphasizes nutritional therapies, digestive cofactors, enzyme enhancement, hormone replacement and lifestyle changes.
Disease has a greater impact on how your body functions than does aging alone. Therefore, staying fit and healthy is an important part of keeping your body operating as if it were still young.
Reuters, March 17, 2008: How well people get around and keep their balance in old age is linked to the severity of changes in their brains, research suggests. Age-related white matter brain changes are associated with gait and balance disturbances.
Dr. Hansjoerg Baezner, from University of Heidelberg in Mannheim, Germany, and colleagues studied the impact of age-related white matter changes on functional decline in 639 men and women between the ages of 65 and 84 who underwent brain scans as well as walking and balance tests. Of the group, 284 had mild age-related white matter changes, 197 moderate changes, and 158 severe changes.
They found that people with severe white matter changes were twice as likely to score poorly on tests of walking and balance as those with mild white matter changes. They further found that people with severe changes were twice as likely as the mild group to have a history of falls. The moderate group was one-and-a-half times as likely as the mild group to have a history of falls.
As people age, the body produces lower levels of various substances, including tears.
Sometimes known as the "youth hormone", DHEA protects the body from premature aging. A lower-than-normal level of DHEA can also be a sign of premature aging, as DHEA production decreases with age.
Hair graying results when melanocytes stop producing melanin, the same pigment that darkens our skin to protect us from UV radiation. Sex steroids such as estrogens and progesterone stimulate the function of melanocytes. Also, premature hair graying is less frequent in ethnic groups, notably blacks, who also tend to have higher testosterone levels in both sexes. [J Clin Endo Metab 1997; 82: pp.3580-83]
Our outward appearance says a lot about what is going on inside our body: If a person appears to be aging prematurely then it is probably not just occurring on the outside.
Research shows that chronic inflammation is a major cause of premature aging: The cumulative damage caused by chronic inflammation often occurs without any apparent signs or symptoms, but gradually causes severe skin deterioration and accelerated skin aging.
A recent large-scale prospective study of 4700 Norwegian men and women between the ages of 65 and 67 revealed that higher levels of homocysteine in plasma were associated with a significantly increased risk of mortality. For each 5 mmol/L increase in plasma homocysteine levels, the number of deaths from all causes in this "youthful" senior population jumped by 49%. This included:
These dramatic results may indicate a need for more routine screening in the elderly population. [Am J Clin Nutr 2001;74: pp.130-6]
The symptoms of Werners Syndrome closely resemble premature aging.
Some of the most effective strategies for combatting ageing include EDTA chelation therapy and environmental medicine. EDTA chelation is a series of intravenous treatments that removes heavy metals and can increase circulation throughout the body.
If your typical meal is dominated by food that is white, brown and gray then what you are eating is probably making you old. Instead, think "color and crunch." Eat meals that are dominated by juicy, crunchy foods rich in reds, oranges, purples and greens.
According to research at the University of Southern California published in June, 2014, prolonged fasting reduces levels of the enzyme PKA, which is linked to aging.
Environmental medicine identifies toxic and allergic factors to remove or avoid them and/or desensitizes the body so that their effect is negligible.
Melatonin helps to restore metabolic function and 'reset the metabolic clock' that has been disrupted by aging.
Considered to be from 200 to 500 times more potent an antioxidant than vitamin E, selenium and vitamin E are synergistic as antioxidants and inhibit or prevent the damage to tissues by free radicals which have been cited as causal factors in heart disease, atherosclerosis, arthritis and aging.
There are many testimonies of the anti-aging benefits of oxidation therapies as simple as the hydrogen peroxide bath.
Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, massage, hydromassage, and mind/body therapies can also reduce the chronic stress on the body that interferes with normal functioning and contributes to premature aging.
Osteopathic manipulation can reduce the chronic stress on the body that interferes with normal functioning and contributes to premature aging.
Massage can reduce the chronic stress on the body that interferes with normal functioning and contributes to premature aging.
Both Eastern and Western medicine recognize that stress can affect the adrenal glands and accelerate the aging process.