I know what it is to get old, but what does it mean for my body to age?
Our bodies are constantly under attack in many ways from organisms like bacteria to UV rays from the sun. Even our own body has mutated cells that can cause damage. Without the ability to respond to stresses and attacks we can easily get overrun. Our body is made if of many small cells. As we age each individual cell can accumulate DNA damage and lose the ability to replicate and perform its intended function efficiently. An eight cylinder car engine can run for sometime on fewer cylinders but eventually the remaining cylinders will fail as well and the car is stuck. Unfortunately we can improve our bodies at any age but there is now way to change our engines out.
What causes this kind of aging?
We don’t completely understand aging and cell death. Several aspects do seem to be consistently found though. Our cells do gradually accumulate damage to proteins, fats and DNA. These are through various stresses and can accumulate faster than repaired. Free radical oxygen, radiation, UV exposure and other things can directly cause damage. Another theory involved damage to a telomere which after shortened or damaged means that a cell can no longer divide properly.
Is there anything that we can do to try and prevent cellular aging?
Billions of dollars a year are spent trying to stay young. This often means there are many ways to try and stay young and none that work perfectly. There are some things we can do to prevent stress in our lives, sun damage and radiation exposure. Integrative medicine also includes many vitamins and anti-oxidant substances that try and keep cellular damage low. Good overall health also keeps our immune system strong which can protect against threats from bacteria and even our own damaged cells that can form a cancer
Are there any other benefits to this approach?
Many movies are about the quest for the holy grail of eternal life. The question always arises of whether you would want to live forever in a decaying body. A long life is desirable but usually when it is a healthy life. One of the most important aspects of preventing cellular damage is that it keeps our body more able to respond to stresses and stay active and healthy. We want to live long and prosper!
What is our approach at the Men’s Health Center?
I want you to age as slowly as possible and most importantly age as well as possible. More life is a great goal but without good health and mobility longer life can also be a struggle. Since so many aspects are important to good health this center is unique in incorporating everything into a healthy lifestyle. This involves a personalized and monitored plan for diet, nutrition, activity, safe exercise, stress management, mental health, and even sleep evaluation.