As we age, we start feeling different in our bodies. Things tend to start breaking down and it can seem like an uphill battle to wellness. There’s no desire to increase our lifespan without an increase in wellness. The goal isn’t just to live longer, it’s to live healthier. We call this ‘health span’. Can we combat the effects of aging and increase our ‘health span’? To operate from the same page here, let’s start with some definitions.
Aging is referred to as the process of gradual physiological deterioration.
Longevity is in reference to the lifespan.
Wellness is just being disease-free.
Health span is different to the lifespan. The health span is the period of life free of major disease and disability.
Everybody is going to have some degree of physiological deterioration as they age. This is an unavoidable part of life. The questions are ‘how fast will the deterioration happen?’ ‘how aggressive will they come on?’ and ‘how will it impact quality of life?’
Generally, people are living longer, but suffering from one or multiple chronic diseases. Worldwide life expectancy is now up to an average of 73 years, six years longer than it was in 2000. But chronic diseases are also on the rise. It is estimated that nearly four in five older adults in the U.S. will be living with multiple medical conditions once they have reached their mid-sixties. Yikes! That makes for a painful 13+/- years to live!
The goal would be to have less morbidity, or chronic conditions, as you get older, right? That’s definitely the ideal scenario.
What are the Common Causes of Death in USA and Europe?
- Cardiovascular disease
- Respiratory Disease
- Digestive Disease
- Liver Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Suicide (major depressive disorder)
Warning Signs of These Diseases
|Cardiovascular Disease:||Cancer:||Lung disease:||Dementia:||Digestive Disease:|
|Shortness of breath|
Chest tightness and pain
Numbness or coldness in the legs or arms
Unexplained weight loss
Loss of appetite
Sores that don’t heal
Skin changes such as rash or skin reddening
Shortness of breath with little or no exertion
Chronic mucus production
Coughing up blood even if it’s a small amount
Cyanosis of nail beds or lips
Loss of ability to do everyday tasks
Dependence on others
Reduced concentration and attention
Difficulty with planning and organising
Difficulty finding locations
Change in bowel habits
Changes in stool colour
Blood in stool
Bloating and distension
|Kidney Disease:||Diabetes:||Liver Disease:||Parkinson’s Disease:||Suicide (major depressive disorders):|
|Changes in urination frequency|
Changes in urine colour or excess foaming
Swelling and oedema in legs and face
Nausea and vomiting
Cuts and bruises heal slowly
Dark urine colour
Abdominal pain and swelling
Loss of appetite
Swelling in legs and ankles
Nausea or vomiting
Tendency to bruise easily
|Slowness of movement|
Hip or shoulder stiffness
Softness of voice
Withdrawing from others
Loss of concern with appearance or responsibilities
Threatening or discussing suicide
How Can these Common Causes of Death be Influenced as we Age?
As we age, it’s important to make sure to catch these diseases early with prevention. “Longevity medicine” is extending your lifespan, which includes “wellness medicine”, which is to be free from disease. Both of them together are increasing your health span; both quality and quantity. What we really want is to be without any kind of morbidity, without any symptoms, and without any chronic conditions. That should be everyone’s goal in life!
The Role of Geroscience
Geroscience is geriatric science. It’s the science of what happens in our body when we are aging. Geroscience helps understand how aging physiology can lead to disease comorbidity and how to develop effective clinical strategies. In the field of geroscience, the concept is that aging itself is a disease. And this is what the entire field of Geroscience is investigating. It is a field of research that has its own journals and its own departments at universities. They are looking at what is happening with the aging physiology that can lead to chronic diseases. Whether you get dementia or cancer or start getting CVD or arthritis, these conditions shouldn’t be considered as independent diseases as they all have to do with some initial cellular changes, which they call the ‘Hallmarks of Aging’.
Using geroscience and research, as a functional nutritionist I am able to help get to the root of those cellular changes and how they are expressing as symptoms in your body. I have the tools to address these issues, try to change the expression of these ‘hallmarks of aging’ to increase your health span.
To read more about the “Hallmarks of Aging” and how Functional medicine and Functional nutrition can build your resiliency, click here to read more.
To connect with me on how we can address your symptoms and concerns as it pertains to aging, click here to set up a phone call.
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