In a nutshell, anti-aging medicine is a field of medical practice specifically aimed at significantly reducing or totally avoiding the risk of diseases that are often associated with advanced age.
Before explaining further, please take note that there are widespread misconceptions about anti-aging medicine in the community. Perhaps it is better to begin by explaining what anti-aging medicine is NOT about.
Anti-aging medicine is NOT about some special formulas contained in bottled pills and capsules. It is NOT about facial or skin creams. It is NOT about some solitary food or drink that would make anyone younger. It is NOT about injections that people claim to make consumers look beautiful and attractive. Anti-aging medicine is NOT about never getting old and it is definitely NOT about defying death!
Advances in technology and research has ushered in a new era of medical information that only a generation ago was unimagined of . It is not too long ago when our exploration of the human body was limited to the organ and its gross pathology. Today we are able to travel to the inner sanctuary of the cell, well into the amino acid structure of the DNA. The speed of such discovery means that the many of our traditional understand on health issues need constant revision and updating.
The concept of aging is one such issue. It has always been thought of as an inevitable part of life. Our life expectancy is pre-destined and nothing can be done to change it. Research shows us that this is simply not true anymore. Those of us who have dedicated our lives to anti-aging medicine believe that aging should be view more appropriately as a collection of chronic degenerative diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, and loss of memory. These can be deterred, reversed, or even cured. We now know that aging and life expectancy is approximately seventy percent determined by our lifestyle and only thirty percent determined by our genetic makeup. It is the advance of antibiotics and proper management of these lifestyle factors that is largely responsible for the increase in life expectancy from 43 to 76 in just the past century, as genetic therapy as an anti-aging modality is till years away.
The aging process starts in the early twenties and passes through a series of sub-clinical phases within which our body does not feel anything “abnormal “. Cancer, thinning skin, decreasing muscle strength, and slowing gastro intestinal motility commonly associated with aging takes an average of twenty years or more to develop and become symptomatic. During this gradual and progressive deterioration, there are no outward warning signs.
The fallacy that the absence of outright detectable symptoms of aging and the failure of confirmation by current laboratory test equates to a “normal ” body must be dispelled. Most current laboratory test are not sensitive enough to detect the cellular changes occurring within. In addition, many blood tests measure the serum which do not necessarily reflect the more important intracellular levels of the same. Their results can be misleading.
As long as you have past your peak physical health around age twenty, the body will start to naturally and progressively deteriorate in the absence of any pro-active steps to arrest such sub-clinical disease state. What is considered normal by current laboratory test should not be so considered from an anti-aging perspective. Anti-aging physicians often redefines common laboratory reference standards into two groups – standard for those who are clinically sick with active disease, and for those who are in the sub-clinical phases of the disease characteristic of the aging process.
Many people considered “normal” by current testing standards is already well in the sub-clinical phase of many degenerative disease, including hypertension, osteoarthritis, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. Just because current tests are not sensitive enough to detect the abnormality does not mean the absence of disease.
The body is not a light switch that can be turned on and off at will. It is a miraculous machine that often advance signals to warn us of impending diseases. The anti-aging specialist in constantly in tune with such signals, and helps each to interpret what he or her body is trying to say before degenerative disease such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and osteoarthritis progress from their sub-clinical state to full blown disease state.
Aging is not inevitable once this concept of undetectable sub-clinical disease state is understood . You can do something now, if you know how. Ideally, deterring of the aging process should start in the early twenties . Research have shown, however, that it is never too late. Treating aging as a disease that can be arrested or slowed, anti-aging physicians set down a treatment strategy to maximize the life span of each cell of the body. When the cell lives longer, you will live longer.
The understanding of cellular function is therefore of paramount importance to any anti-aging specialist and those who interested to live longer. All disease, including aging, starts at the molecular and cellular level. Successful anti-aging strategy and curing of disease must begin at this level. Treating symptoms like giving anti-histamine to stop a running nose is a short term band-aid that only buys us time in the absence of the understanding of the real cause and therefore the real treatment. If we only know what at the cellular level causes the running nose, doesn’t it make more sense to stop the cell from causing such symptoms? In the absence of such knowledge, the best we can do is to simply constrict the vessels to prevent the discharge. It’s the second best. The quest for knowledge to know why cells become dysfunctional is therefore an area of on going important research.
Anti-aging medicine incorporates many of the principals of ortho-molecular medicine and German biological therapies to retard aging and rejuvenate the body, in addition to the following discipline: nutrition, biochemistry, cell biology, physiology, general medicine, immunology, allergy, endocrinology, pharmacology, toxicology, neurology, gastroenterology, nephrology, and physical medicine.
Anti-aging medicine is a clinical specialty is founded on the application of advanced scientific and medical technologies for the early detection, prevention, treatment, and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders, and diseases. It is a healthcare model promoting innovative science and research to prolong the healthy lifespan in humans. As such, anti-aging medicine is based on principles of sound and responsible medical care that are consistent with those applied in other preventive health specialties. The phrase “anti-aging,” as such, relates to the application of advanced biomedical technologies focused on the early detection, prevention, and treatment of aging-related disease.
Anti-aging medicine complements regenerative medicine, as both specialties embrace cutting-edge biomedical technologies aimed at achieving benefits for both the quality and quantity of the human lifespan. Some of the most promising aspects of regenerative medicine, most notably:
Taken collectively, the advancements offered by anti-aging and regenerative medicine to improve the quality of, and/or extend the length of, the human lifespan, are the singlemost potent emerging biomedical technologies today..
Hundreds of scientific research studies clearly prove that modest interventions in diet, exercise, nutrition and single-gene modulation in the laboratory setting beneficially and significantly impact healthy function in old-age. Many of these interventions also modify maximum lifespan by 20 to 800% as well. With over the near-daily advancements in biomedical technologies related to research specifically focused on elucidating treatments for aging-related disorders and modulating the metabolic dysfunctions associated with old age, in the imminent near-future, effective interventions will become widely available to modulate the aging process itself in humans.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have found that the anti-aging lifestyle can add 24.6 more years of productive lifespan. The research team found that the longest-living Americans are Asian-American women residing in Bergen County, New Jersey USA. They live longer than any other ethnic group in the United States to an average lifespan of 91.1 years. In contrast, the Harvard team found that the shortest-living Americans are Native American populations in South Dakota, despite receiving free or low-cost government provided medical care living an average lifespan of 66.5 years. A distinguishing characteristic of the Bergen County women’s longevity is that they are availing themselves of the armament of state-of-the-art biomedical technologies in advanced preventive care, including preventive screenings, early disease detection, aggressive intervention, and optimal nutrition – all of which are cornerstones of the anti-aging medical model. [“Bergen County, NJ is long in longevity,” New York Times, September 12, 2006; “Asian women in Bergen have nation’s top life expectancy,” Free Republic, September 12, 2006.]
Source- American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine