Eight mistaken assumptions about aging
Understanding the Aging Syndrome, or how we get old, is the key to leaving the confusion of aging behind and getting on with discovering what we can do to stay young
Assumption: The main reason we get old is the aging process.
Fact: Real aging is actually a minor factor in many of the changes we associate with getting old. The Aging Syndrome is a much stronger underlying cause, and more importantly, one that we can manage. It is a syndrome of ten root causes (behaviors, exposures and thought patterns) that lead to three megacauses that accelerate disease processes in our body long before we realize it. The only thing we notice is that we are getting old, but it is not because of aging.
Assumption: My genes are my destiny. They determine how long I will live.
Fact: Genes are a relatively minor contributor to longevity and the Aging Syndrome, responsible for only 25 percent of individual lifespans. Self-managing the Aging Syndrome minimizes the impact of genes by changing how they are expressed.
Assumption: My doctor knows my health needs best and will manage my chronic diseases and aging symptoms.
Fact: Doctors are absolutely essential when it comes to dealing with chronic disease processes that have reached the diagnostic threshold—that is when they become a medical issue. However, chronic diseases are developing for years before a diagnosis is made and the most important time to change the process is before they are ever diagnosed. Doctors know that this depends primarily on how well patients self-manage their own health and disease. It is a personal responsibility; no doctor can manage a patient’s lifestyle.
Assumption: Calorie cutting is simply a diet and weight loss method and does not relate directly to aging.
Fact: On the contrary, cutting the calories you consume by about 40 percent is the only proven method to increase longevity. It is the gold standard by which every anti-aging therapy is judged. The potential benefits of calorie restriction really are a miracle cure: increased lifespan by 30-40 percent, reduced incidence of chronic disease, reduced inflammation, and strengthened immune system. Extreme caloric restriction works, not by slowing the aging process, but by slowing the Aging Syndrome.
Assumption: Aging is the cause of our declining physical and mental function
as we get older.
Fact: Physical and mental disuse, rather than aging, are the real causes of our declining function and abilities as we age. Using our body and brain more, and in a greater variety of ways, is a key to slowing or reversing the declines that we think of as getting old.
Assumption: If I feel fine and I don’t need medication yet, I have nothing to worry about.
Fact: The need for prescription medication often means you’ve waited too long. Live Young, Think Young, Be Young identifies three mega-causes that accelerate the Aging Syndrome from inside: Metabolic Madness, Constricted Circulation, and Insidious Inflammation. These mega-causes are happening inside you right now, whether or not you’re paying attention to them.
Assumption: As we age, our metabolism slows down.
Fact: Our metabolism slows as our muscle cells shrink from disuse. We can easily influence our metabolic rate by increasing our activity level and maintaining our muscle mass with exercise. Exercise becomes increasingly important as we age, but it doesn’t have to be hard. With exercise and physical activity, it is more about volume and variety than intensity.
Assumption: As we get older, the rising incidence of chronic disease is normal.
Fact: Many of the negative changes associated with increasing age are considered “normal” because they are so common. Doctors often perpetuate the misconception by explaining diagnoses as “just part of aging.” We expect older folks to have these diseases even though, by definition, disease is never normal; it is always a disconnect from proper bodily functioning. A common diagnosis is never normal and should never be used as an excuse to give up.
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"Eight mistaken assumptions about aging"
The above assumptions and facts are excerpts from Live Young, Think Young, Be Young…at Any Age, by Donald M. Vickery, M.D., Larry Matson, Ed.D., and Carol Vickery, R.N., M.S.N. (2012); with permission from Bull Publishing.”...