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Exploring Aging: Diverse Case Scenarios and Longevity Insights

Written by: Dr Tim Trodd (Functional Medicine)

What is aging?

Once we have finished nurturing our children we are left, hopefully, in a healthy state, able to walk, manipulate and talk, but we for sure will start to degenerate and age. When we lose these abilities, we will require care of some kind. That is it, simple.

Take a hypothetical 75-year-old, who may have trouble getting out of a chair and walking a small distance. To a doctor this may be due to a disease such as Osteoarthritis, or heart failure but big picture, this is due to aging. He or she has probably reached the end of their “Healthspan”, ie they will not regain health again in this lifespan. Their body systems have deteriorated to the point that they are losing the ability to influence their environment. That same person, however, is not that badly off, they probably had some friends who have already died. They are not the worst off, that is true, BUT they also have a friend who plays golf four times a week, visits the gym most days and skis with his family and lives a vibrant life.

These different outcomes for a 75-year-old have very little to do with chance, you may get run over by a taxi or you may have genes for heart disease and diabetes, but with modern medicine the majority of the difference in outcomes is down to lifestyle. What did that person do to maintain their health in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, exercise, diet, sleep etc. By the time a person has lost their health it is too late to change lifestyle. The 75-year-old living an active vibrant life did not get there by chance but because of choices they made up to decades earlier.

Take another hypothetical person, a 45-year-old who has come to a fork in the road, they have high blood pressure, high Cholesterol and / or high blood sugar. Do they choose to take medicines for these problems as proposed by the Doctor or reassess their lifestyle, get advice on how to improve their health through diet and exercise a take a new healthier path. Perhaps they choose a combination of both paths due to their circumstances, but they are far more likely to be a healthy 75-year-old if they choose the healthy path.

So, if the issue is longevity and healthspan what is really going on?

Human beings effect their environment in 4 ways. They reproduce, they walk, they use their hands and they talk, that is pretty much it. And, once we have reproduced and nurtured our offspring our genes have no further use for us, ie we consume resources without benefit to our genes. Therefore, we are biologically programmed to grow old and die. We age and we die, this is a universal human experience and a universal biological process. But we have choices and we can delay that inevitable process and we can also improve our Healthspan.

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Topics: Body Check, Health & Wellness, Wellness & Functional Medicine, Longevity

Dr Tim Trodd

Dr Tim Trodd

Family Medicine, Functional Medicine, General Practice