Anti-Aging or Lifestyle Change – Which Term is Best Used When Talking About Delaying the Onset of Diseases of the Elderly?

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Anti-aging or Lifestyle Change – Which Term is Best Used When Talking About Delaying the Onset of Diseases in the Elderly?

Over the past several weeks, I have had the pleasure of helping my daughter take care of her new premature infant. As I did a number of the late night feeds on my newly adopted grandson, I was able to reflect on some of the things that led me to the path of being a Pediatrician. Why was this so important to me? Some of you may know my family history – my dad died at the age of 53, his father at 50 years and my grandfather at 47 years old. All of heart disease. So when I was in medical school and celebrated my 25th birthday, I turned to my wife at told her my life was half over. I based that solely on my family genetics. I’m now 15 years older than my father was when he died. What did I do that was different from my family genetics?

In medical school, my classmates and I were taught that as we age,  certain medicines would have to be given to improve the quality of our patients’ lives when diseases of the elderly happened . We were basically taught that “you can’t cure unless you have a pill.” But what if there was a way to delay or even prevent the onset of diseases that occur as we age, like cancer or diabetes or heart disease to name a few? One day I noticed my new grandson had accidentally scratched his face with a fingernail. By the next day, the scratch was completely healed! So what’s different about a newborn than in an older child or even an older adult?

In newborns, cells grow very quickly. After all, babies grow about 10 inches in the first year and generally, triple their birth weights in the same time. For nine months they are supposedly protected from the environment and conditions are perfect for good growth. They get good nutrition and are protected from the environment. Over the next few weeks, I will explore the different factors or exposures that change the body’s ability to maintain “homeostasis” (the ability to keep the body on an even keel).

I will look at the following:

  1. the air we breathe, both inside and outside the home
  2. the food we eat
  3. the beauty care products and soaps we use
  4. the water we drink 
  5. the exercise and activities we do

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