Since ancient times, people have been concerned with developing and preserving youthful vigour, stopping the progressing age clock, and extending their lifespan.
By reading this editorial, you will have taken the first step toward understanding the ageless society, a place where the ravages of old age, disease, dementia, and disability are almost unknown. A place where every man and woman may look forward to a youthful, productive lifespan of 100 or more years filled with boundless health and unlimited opportunity. A society where no one bothers to ask how old you are because age has become as meaningless as your old school tie or at which health club you train.
By 2030, one in five of the world population will be over 65 years old. Research has shown that the elderly will use between three to five times more healthcare services compared to the younger population, with the associated costs being two times higher than the average.
To date, there has been a great deal of progress in understanding the ageing process and attempting to delay it. Anti-ageing physicians are making great strides in reducing the risks of disability and death from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, cancer, senility, and arthritis, essentially by modifying metabolism of the old to that of the young. Diseases of the old, to a large degree, are disorders of metabolic processes. By repairing the physiology of the old cell, it begins to act and function at a much more youthful and healthful level — in essence, achieving rejuvenation and reversal of ageing.
Without anyone noticing, there has been a revolution in medical care. Over the past 100 years lifespan has nearly doubled, from 46 to 77 years, mostly because of improvements in sanitation and elimination of childhood infectious diseases. This trend is continuing to rise owing to improvements in the treatment of heart disease and the early diagnosis of cancer.
‘There have been more gains in life expectancy in the last 50 years than in the previous 5000 years,’ said Dr David Brandling-Bennett of the United Nations’ World Health Organization1.
As a Board Examiner of the American Acadamy of Anti-Ageing Medicine and Fellowship Lecturer of the AustralAsian Academy of Anti-Ageing Medicine, the fundamental belief is that: age is inevitable, ageing is not.
If you have had your cholesterol tested, taken a lipid lowering drug, had a mammogram or taken hormonal replacement therapy with thyroid, oestrogen, testosterone, you have experienced anti-ageing medicine. This form of medicine is based on the very early detection, prevention, and reversal of age-related disease.
The majority of adult illnesses, such as heart disease, most cancers, adult-onset diabetes, and strokes are caused by the degenerative processes of ageing. Early detection and appropriate intervention, with the newest clinical medical specialty, can preserve the ‘optimum’ of wellness and longevity.
At present, it appears that the only way of significantly extending human lifespan is with caloric restriction. For example, keeping fats below 30% and cholesterol intake below 200 mg per day will markedly cut your risk of heart disease. One will also need to keep the total calorific intake to 1500 calories per day. However, there are also a number of other factors, which can seemingly improve lifespan.
Physicians practicing anti-ageing medicine seek to enhance the quality of life as well as its quantity, limiting the period of illness and disability toward the end of a patient’s life. Anti‑ageing medicine encompasses life style changes (diet and exercise); hormone replacement therapies as required (determined by laboratory tests); and antioxidant, vitamin, and mineral supplements. It is a study at cellular level where you are able to prolong cell life and cycle.
A study by Dr Ralph Paffenbarger and his colleagues, involving 17000 Harvard alumni, found that men who burned 500–1000 calories per week on physical activity had a 22% lower risk of death for all causes, while those who expended 2500 calories a week also added 1–2 years to their extended lifespan2.
Smoking is very likely the most ageing activity. Not only will it cause or aid the development of cardiovascular disease and the majority of cancers, it will definitely cause premature ageing to the skin. It destroys collagen causing the skin to sag and wrinkle, vertical deep wrinkles on the lips are caused by direct smoke contact.
Many of the dreaded diseases of today, such as Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis, are preventable, treatable, even reversible with proper modification of lifestyle, nutrition, and medication.
People who are physically fit, eat a healthy, balanced diet and take nutritional supplements can slice 10–20 years off their biological age — the true age that your body should be measured, in terms of function, rather than your chronological age as measured by the candles on your birthday cake.
Anti-ageing medicine will forever change the way society views going to the doctor. Instead of waiting until a person is sick or exhibiting symptoms, a person will visit the doctor, perhaps twice per year, to monitor potential illnesses or conditions — before they occur.
1. Knox RA. Report: Global ageing to reach cosmic levels. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. May 12, 1998; p.77
2. Paffenbarger RS Jr, Hyde RT, Wing AL, Hsieh CC. Physical activity, all cause mortality, and longevity of college allumni. N Engl J Med 1986; 314(10): 605–13