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What Does Healthspan Mean for Me?

Written by: Dr Tim Trodd (Functional Medicine)

Individuals who are going to take an active approach to Healthspan and Longevity need to have financial resources, time and motivation. Choosing to manage health for the long term in your 40’s has a cost, both in terms of time and money. However, seeing the big picture and planning for the future is a particular cognitive skill that not everybody possesses. We can liken this to quitting smoking, every smoker knows the dangers of smoking, but some are not able to reconcile the pain of quitting today with the huge advantages they will get later on. In other words, you have made a choice to spend time, perhaps suffer some discomfort and spend money today when a significant part of the benefit will not be felt for decades. This is why I always advise my patients to try and choose an exercise program that they enjoy. An exercise program that is enjoyable is far more likely to be sustained and to optimise healthspan any health program must be sustainable. Somebody who goes on a radical diet and exercise regimen and stops after a while is probably worse off, they have failed and are less likely to try again. Far better to go on a less radical plan that can be sustained. Try to make your plan fun, this often means making it social, which has benefits all of its own, or trying for an achievable goal. It is also important that this should not be seen as a choice between modern medicine and a lifestyle approach. Most of us will need some sort of medical treatment as we age, be it blood pressure, cholesterol, or other therapy. This does not preclude a lifestyle approach, far from it.

What About Genetics?

Doctors are taught to always take a “family history” from their patients. This is a big picture enquiry into genetic predispositions. In the past few years more detailed analysis of genetic traits have become available. Relatively inexpensive tests can now reveal our genetic propensity to disease. While we cannot change our genes, integrating data from genetics into a health program is now available and will become a key area going forward, particularly with the coming of Artificial Intelligence.

What About AI?

Anything to do with the future is complex and unknowable, but data properly collected, synthesised and acted upon will be the key to maximising our chances of a long healthy and productive life. The future is already here. We will produce and harvest large amounts of data from wearables, measures of physical abilities, body composition (DEXA), diet analysis, regular blood results and personal preferences. This will be matched against the whole of database of human knowledge. This will give individuals access to a personal plan and the ability to monitor effectiveness that no individual practitioner would be able to achieve.

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Topics: Health & Wellness, Wellness & Functional Medicine

Dr Tim Trodd

Dr Tim Trodd

Family Medicine, Functional Medicine, General Practice