5 Myths of Aging

by Steven Carney on December 12, 2012

I hear myths about aging all the time, whether it’s from TV news, medical sources or online stories. These myths are often based on unproven beliefs and platitudes that news and medical people repeat often! It seems that they no longer think about what they are saying as they repeat these myths.

Before we cover these common myths, some background. Most docs treat chronic conditions and assumed age-related problems with drugs. The problem is that most chronic health problems (heart disease, high BP, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, cancer, inflammation, etc.) are lifestyle driven. You don’t catch them.

One of the greatest failures of our medical system is the way doctors treat the symptoms patients have based on seeing them as a collection of organs and systems rather than a whole being. They don’t often look for the true origins (etiology) of your health problems. Rather, they prescribe drugs for the symptoms you have, giving the impression that you’re better when you’re not. It’s a false promise; a mirage!

Why it happens

Doctors often prescribe drugs for lifestyle or assumed, age-related conditions because their education is focused on disease diagnosis and drugs/procedures. Most get no education in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle influence on health or lifestyle modification. They do spend lots of time on drugs, pharmacology and procedures, so those are the places they turn to. It’s what they know. But it’s also form of indoctrination because most drugs never cure you; they only treat symptoms without finding the real cause!

Here are 5 common myths of aging given by medical people and our media culture (there are many more I might cover in future posts):

1. It’s normal to gain weight with age

Actually, it’s not! It happens because people don’t adjust their eating habits, even as their waistline expands and they feel sluggish and less active. The junk food, fast food, and processed foods that people eat in their 20s and 30s are no longer digested as efficiently with age. Plus, those high sugar and refined-carb foods, including wheat, lack balanced nutrition. They often spike blood sugar and turn on inflammation, adding to weight gain, metabolic disruption, mood swings, etc.

The answer to keeping your weight steady with age is to include more whole, healthy foods like veggies, nuts, whole fruits, and lean proteins (chicken, fish, seafood), foods that don’t tend to spike blood sugar. With improved nutrition, those blood sugar spikes will often cease. Not only will weight gain stop, but many people tend to shed pounds automatically. No calorie restriction or dieting is necessary!

With a little support and guidance from me, I can help you meet your goals. What’s more, better food helps to activate health genes, along with helping to steady key hormones, both key anti-aging strategies. If you’re curious, my BMI is around 21, with a body fat percent of about 15%, great numbers for someone my age.

2. It’s normal to slow down with age

Another myth! What people do and what is normal are different things. Added weight and spikes/drops in blood glucose are disruptive to normal metabolism and they will lower energy. That’s really why people feel less energy (stress and lack of sleep also contribute). So having low energy is driven by unhealthy eating and lifestyle choices, not age (remember Jack LaLanne?).

Some also say it’s also normal to lose muscle with age but again, when people don’t eat well and are less active, muscle tone and mass can be lost. Again, this is because people are giving up on fun activity and exercise, not because of age.

We’re made to move and to be active! Our bodies don’t function properly when we are too sedentary. With better nutrition, energy is more sustained and plentiful. You’ll feel like being active and even shed a few extra pounds. You’ll have more energy to walk, swim, ride a bike, garden, or play with your pet or family. Being active helps you stay healthy by activating additional health genes (good nutrition activates health genes as mentioned above). By staying moderately active with age, you can keep your muscle tone, mass and flexibility, allowing you to keep using the energy your body produces efficiently.

3. It’s normal to have more back/joint pain with age

Not really! It’s because people don’t take the right steps as they get older! Healthy eating and fun activity (in #1 and #2 above) can help to keep joints and tissues healthy, with lower inflammation. Inflammation is a significant driver of swelling, pain and joint degeneration.

Activity can help keep muscles, bones and joints more flexible and toned. But if you should get injured, consider things like activator chiropractic (a low force/no pain method), massage and Yoga or stretching. Those non-invasive approaches can help you stay flexible and balanced, with better posture and less wear and tear. That includes things like getting shorter with age! Again, diet counts! Good nutrition, supplements and walking can help to minimize osteoporosis and disc shrinkage. And again, activator chiro can help to minimize disc problems and compression that sometimes occur when you ignore your back and joints.

After my childhood illness and a recent car accident, I see an activator chiro every 5-6 weeks for a $35.00 payment. I’m not in pain when I go, it’s wellness care, like a tune-up for your car or furnace. It works well; I have no chronic pain at all! And I work out many days a week, including walking, jogging, yoga, and other exercise (but for short periods, not hours).

I tell everyone over 40 to just accept the fact that you have some history that has caused you to compensate (falls, spills, sprains, broken bones, etc.), and for a reasonable cash payment, you can easily keep your spine and joints in good condition! Be proactive about it (I can explain how activator works in more detail if we talk). So again, these things happen because people don’t take the right steps and aren’t proactive enough, not simple aging!

4. It’s normal to develop chronic conditions with age

Again, false! This happens partly because people have been brainwashed by drug ads (with the help of doctors and the FDA) that there is a “free lunch” in pill form (all gain, no loss/risk). Drug ads push quick, easy “cures” for your problems (a pill for every ill). This is, of course, a false notion! Most chronic conditions like those mentioned earlier come from unhealthy lifestyle choices! If you doubt what I’m saying, ask yourself why you can’t stop taking drugs for high BP, high cholesterol (a fraud), arthritis, diabetes, etc. Where’s the cure from the drugs?

Let’s be real honest, sick people make billions for medical providers, so the system instinctively supports ineffective treatments because it profits them handsomely! Drug companies love it when you become a customer for life! Most drugs treat symptoms, not the cause so you need to keep taking them!

I often urge clients to be more proactive and get annual blood screenings (or every other year if tests look good healthy) so they can catch possible problems early and make the necessary adjustments sooner. That’s because an early catch of a possible problem is the easiest to treat, usually with lifestyle.

I often suggest a Metabolic Panel to give an overview for the following areas: kidney and liver functions, basic cholesterol, fasting glucose, thyroid, etc. I think the test includes about 30 markers/areas.

I also recommend a 25-hydroxy vitamin D test and hs CRP (high sensitivity C-reactive protein). These will provide a good health overview of vitamin D and inflammation levels. I also like height, weight, BMI/body fat %. If we need more detailed tests, they are available.

It’s entirely possible to fix most health conditions with diet, activity and supplements (I have no chronic conditions at all and I take no drugs)! It’s even possible to reverse most atherosclerosis and heart disease! It’s possible to lower BP naturally and not need BP meds! Yes, it’s entirely possible to maintain your health well into old age; to be active and healthy without chronic health problems, disability or dependency on others. The choice is truly in your hands!

5. It’s normal for men to get an enlarged prostate with age

You probably already guessed this is also a myth! Just because a lot of U.S. (and western) males get an enlarged prostate doesn’t mean it’s “normal” or that it comes with age. Once again, lifestyle choices, nutrition and activity are key, because they can help to keep hormones more balanced and at better levels.

For a healthy prostate, these things are known: moderate alcohol to a few drinks/week max, lower saturated-fat/veggie oils and fried food intake (pro-inflammatory), raise antioxidant/veggie intake and lower inflammation (a hs CRP level of 1 is great). These all play key roles in prostate health, along with good hydration.

As usual, this problem is largely tied to unhealthy nutrition, inactivity and associated weight gain, as covered in detail in the above sections. For example, when males get abdominal, or visceral fat, it turns on insulin resistance (which can become diabetes over time), inflammation and increases estrogen levels. These imbalances can easily inflame the prostate, and many men do get prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate), which will cause swelling and discomfort.

So again, an unhealthy lifestyle has real consequences and males who aren’t more aware or mindful will tend to have more chronic inflammation of the prostate. And again, it’s not age, but lifestyle that drives the process, just like the other problems all blamed on age above. Your genes respond to how you live and what you “tell” them, whether good or bad.

Although I didn’t include women’s hormonal issues in this post, I have covered those to a degree on my Tips and Health News pages. I’ll probably add a female hormone section in later myths. It turns out that females can help to moderate hormonal declines that occur in their lives with the same approach to a better lifestyle, and that unhealthy habits and weight gain will exacerbate hormone problems.

I hope these brief overviews are helpful in explaining some powerful truths of aging. Aging does not mean you will gain weight, slow down, have back and joint pains, develop chronic conditions, get an enlarged prostate, or other problems. How you live is the key!

These health problems are not proven to occur because of age even though we hear these things all the time. Think about that! All these medical people who claim that they are so scientific often reciting myths, platitudes and unproven beliefs! Not surprisingly, they profit handsomely off of these myths so they are unlikely to change them any time soon!

The connecting thread to all these conditions is really inaction. If you live badly and copy the lifestyle of people in your family, you’ll probably get the same health conditions they have! On the other hand, if you make healthy adjustments as you age, and improve your nutrition and activity, you can avoid many of the common problems we assume comes with age. It’s really a choice!

I’m here to help you chart a better course, and to get the fullest life and health possible. Feel free to drop me a line or ask a question!

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© 2012 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now

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