Know Your Biological Age

Health Blog- Biological Age: How old are you... really?

Unless you’ve inherited a rare genetic disorder or have been in an accident, everyone generally starts aging at a similar rate. By the time we hit our 30s, however, biologic function and performance has already started to decline for many. The rate of decline varies dramatically among individuals. While some people will lose a function as they age, others will show almost no decline at all. In fact, for many functions some people can even improve as they progress from thirty-five to eighty years.

You know how old you are. However, do you know how your body currently functions physically and biologically compared to people at different chronological ages? Some call this our biological age. Measuring biological age is a way of determining your risk of aging-related disability or dying, compared to that of someone either older or younger than you are. By making unhealthy choices in life, it is possible to age biologically at a rate equivalent to someone 15-20 years older. The question is how can you be one of those people who show almost no decline over time? The goal is not necessarily to live longer but to live better, suffering less illness and disability.

Many assume that how a person ages is carved in “genetic stone.” But studies continue to show that for most of us, lifestyle choices and behaviors have far more impact on longevity and health than our genes. Determining your biological age lets you know the impact of the choices you have made, but more importantly how to prioritize the choices that are best for you. A board certified preventive-aging physician can help you make this assessment. While we cannot turn back the clock chronologically, we can rewind it, and possibly set it back biologically.

Improve and Prevent Chronic Disease

Health Blog- Chronic Disease

More than one-third of the American population is chronically ill. That doesn’t factor in the idea that you can be 80 percent unwell before the first symptoms of disease manifest. Even if you have no outward signs of disease, you may still be heading into a downward spiral that will cause chronic disease later in life. It may take twenty years for enough tumor cells to show up on an x-ray or mammogram. At the time of the diagnosis, you’re at the end stage of a healing crisis, not the beginning. Your arteries could be 90 percent occluded before you experience the first symptoms of angina or some other condition. It might take forty years for an occlusion to get that bad. You’re told it was caught early, when, in actuality, you got it at the end. So, we’ve got possibly another 100 million people walking around who are processing disease that is not yet diagnosed. Then we have another 50 million people who have the early stages of disease. These are our youth.

Most of what we call aging is simply the presence of disease – chronic, seemingly ubiquitous disease that makes us age with such apparent time-dependent consistency that we accept it universally as “simply getting older.” Estimates suggest that up to 90 percent of adult illness is due to the degenerative processes of aging. Despite commonly held beliefs that aging is mostly out of your control, inherited genetics accounts for less than 30 percent of all aging effects, and the importance of genetic inheritance matters less and less the older your calendar age. By the age eighty, behavioral choices account almost entirely for a person’s overall health and longevity.

More than 65 percent of annual American deaths are attributable to heart disease, cancer, and stroke. These three diseases, degenerative diseases of aging, consume more than fifty percent of the U.S. health-care budget. Moreover, health care costs are increasing at double-digit rates each year. Trouble is we have little to show for it. Any improvements in the incidence of heart disease have been because of lifestyle improvements, not medical ones. Same for cancer.

Prevention is the only vehicle that will account for change. If we really want to make an impact on health care in this country and throughout the world, the focus must be on preventing the degenerative diseases of aging. Instead of micromanaging disease, we should focus on macro-managing wellness. Ninety percent of first heart attacks result from preventable lifestyle choices. The same is true of type II diabetes. The overwhelming majority of cancers are avoidable. These diseases along with many others, such as Alzheimer´s disease, are not a component of natural aging. Rather, they are a form of pathological aging that results from a lifetime of unhealthy choices. If we can slow the physiologic processes of aging we can alleviate more than 50 percent of all disease overnight. We can alter this dreadful course by preventing, delaying, or reversing the diseases associated with aging.

Only a small percentage of the American population is truly healthy. And it is no accident that they are healthy. They work at it. So when will you change? You are most likely to change when you lose it all, when you realize one day that you’ve made the wrong choices. Think of how many times you changed because you lost everything. Breaking old habits takes courage. It begins with mindfulness – attention and intention. You can make the mindful decisions to make the changes in your life to grow younger, not older, with each passing day.

[Adapted from Gary Null’s Ultimate Anti-Aging Program. Gary Null, PhD. Broadway Books, 1999]

Optimize Your Hormones – Don´t JUST replace!

Optimize Your Hormones

Hormone replacement is a therapy known to all medical physicians. However, only a select few have taken additional training to enlighten themselves about hormone optimization to gain preventive-aging benefits. These include improved energy, physical performance, complexion, immune function, sexual vitality, mental sharpness, blood pressure, cholesterol, bone density, body composition, and strength to name a few.

Our bodies produce a complex array of natural chemicals called hormones i.e) estrogen, testosterone, thyroid, DHEA, progesterone, etc. As we age, the hormones not only are produced less by our body but also have less of an effect on the tissues for which they are so vital in function. We need to maintain our hormone levels in the higher end of the normal range and not accept just any range of a normal value. The majority of doctors who get a hormone blood panel would accept any range of normal even though it is in the lower percentile. You want to choose a health care facility that has a preventive- aging physician who wants to "optimize" your hormone level by working with your current primary care physician or internist as a consultant. Optimization means to restore your hormone level to the 80- 90th percentile of normal getting all the benefits of those particular hormones. This is vital for both men and women to be evaluated by their mid to late thirties before they get to andropause or menopause, respectively. You should choose a health care center who wants to evaluate these hormone levels before they get to a level that causes noticeable, everyday symptoms. Then, if you begin hormone optimization, you should choose a doctor that only uses natural "bio-identical" hormones to replace your hormone levels customized to your needs. This customized approach involves measuring your blood´s hormone levels monthly until the most adequate level is obtained using the bio-identical hormone replacements. Bio-identical hormones are exactly the same chemical structure that your body naturally produces but only in pill, cream, patch, or suppository form. Do not accept the increased side effects and risks of synthetic, often cheaper versions of a similar hormone.

Center of Rejuvenation Call Dr. Patrick Lovegrove for a Free Consultation 703.729.5600

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