Anti-ageing medicine emerged in the United States in the 1990s. Its objective was to change the approach to ageing. In 1992, Dr. Robert Goldman and Dr. Ronald Klatz together with a group of doctors founded the American Academy of Anti-Ageing Medicine, which revolutionized gerontology. Until then, ageing was considered to be an inevitable process that nothing could be done about. Geriatrics (the science of treating the elderly) was applied by the doctors to simply ease the symptoms of diseases that come with age.
Anti-ageing medicine changes our perceptions of ageing as unavoidable to that of a disease that can be treated with new medical methods. The first change is in the attitude, a transition from a passive position to an active one. It has been proven that changing a few habits combined with the use of medication can alter the pattern of ageing. It was found that healthy ageing is not the result of winning the genetic lottery, but rather the outcome of a new, preventive and interventionist approach.
According to Dr Thierry Hertoghe, President of the World Society of Anti-Ageing Medicine (WOSAAM) and acclaimed preventive medicine specialist:
“Anti-ageing medicine dispels the myth that you simply wait for the arrival of diseases and ageing and accept them, showing that you can actually intervene before this happens by developing habits that will prolong your life.”
Slowing down the ageing process means getting older in good health, enjoying both youthfulness and the wisdom of your years. Durability should not be a burden. Fun and youthful energy can be saved and maintained with the help of medicine.
The key is to prevent the disease or even the tendency for the disease. The focus is on diagnosing functional and metabolic changes in the body before they manifest themselves as diseases, and stopping them from doing so. Today we know how to identify the predisposing factors of chronic diseases. They can be altered so the development of pathologies can be avoided or postponed.
Anti-ageing medicine examines multiple factors of the ageing process and takes the necessary actions to affect their influence. There are five pillars or areas of anti-ageing we need to watch in order to age gracefully.
The Five Pillars of Anti-Ageing Medicine
1. Diet and nutrition
Scientists have discovered that what we eat has a direct influence on how long we live. A diet rich in calories, animal protein and saturated fat not only causes cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, but also accelerates the ageing process of the body as a whole. The process of digestion overwhelms and wears out the body. Metabolism increases oxidative stress and causes cellular ageing. On the other hand, a low-calorie diet, composed of small portions of balanced and healthy food, is associated with longevity. The key here is in a sufficient consumption of low-calorie, high fiber foods including a variety of fruits and vegetables.
2. Stress management
Chronic stress has a negative impact on our fast-paced lifestyles and can affect how quickly ageing results in disease. Stress chemistry is similar to ageing chemistry in that is raises cortisol and catecholamines and reduces anabolic hormone levels. Incorporating regular rest into your weekly routine will help you deal with stress. The pursuit of harmony, pausing and enjoying the simple pleasures of life, will act as an invigorating elixir that affects your quality of life and its prolongation.
3. Physical activity
Physical inertness and daily hypofunction are the causes of many diseases associated with ageing. Many studies have proven the common health benefits of regular physical activity. Exercise prevents a number of diseases, such as cancer. Aerobics and power exercises allow men and women to increase muscle strength, endurance, balance and bone density at any age. To achieve these results, bring at least one type of physical activity into your life on a daily basis. It can be just a walk, dancing or martial arts.
4. Vitamins and minerals
Today it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide our body with the right balance of minerals, vitamins and nutrients. Even in a balanced diet, nutrients may not be available due to the modern methods of crop harvesting or manufacturing of animal products. In pursuit of healthy ageing, it is necessary to enrich our diet with nutritional supplements. The daily intake of supplements is important not only to provide the nutrient building elements necessary for the organs, but also to protect against free-radical attacks caused by bad eating habits, unhealthy lifestyles and a polluted environment.
5. Hormone replacement therapy
Previously it was believed that diseases such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and atherosclerosis are associated with age, but recently it was found that they are caused mainly by hormonal deficiencies. After age 35 the process of reducing hormone production begins, and the production of sex hormones and anabolic hormones gradually decreases. As catabolism continues, the absence of anabolic hormones creates conditions under which further recovery and regeneration of the body cannot take place. Replenishing hormonal deficiencies will give the body the ability to maintain its regenerative power.
A balanced approach to stress management, a complete and healthy diet, and the addition of minerals, vitamins and hormones replenished to the optimum level will lead to an effective process of rejuvenation and regeneration and prevent many diseases.
Anti-ageing medicine is aimed at improving and maintaining good health as a means of extending our lifespan and improving our quality of life. Its principles can be integrated into any medical field and benefit as many people as possible. As we get older, we can also become healthier.