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.
Causes and Development
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.
Signs and Symptoms
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
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).
Treatment and Prevention
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.