Aging Without Disease

by Steven Carney on May 20, 2015

This is post #122 on the site, about how to prevent chronic disease and improve health with age. The post also covers things like immune health, colds and other infections. If you read this post and all the links, I predict that it will change your life forever!

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If you are approaching your 40s (or older), I bet you worry about developing a chronic health condition or disease like hypertension, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, excess weight/obesity, chronic pain, arthritis, systemic inflammation, autoimmune problems, cancer, cognition/mood problems, etc. That’s because many adults develop those non-contagious, chronic problems after age 40. But are those health problems and diseases the result of getting older? Is aging the cause?

Many people in the medical industry will say “Yes” because they see these problems often in older patients. But after years of research and intensive study, the real answer is clearly “No!”

Age is not the reason or the cause of these health problems or diseases. Inherited genes or fate are rarely the cause either (most serious gene defects are discovered by the time most adults reach their mid-20s).

The real cause of disease?

The real origin of most health problems and chronic disease is a lifestyle that doesn’t meet your metabolic, hormonal, physiological and emotional needs! It’s really that simple!

Most health conditions result from the disconnect between our physiological needs and mismatched lifestyle choices. Why do we make so many bad choices? The answer is largely because we fall pray to the endless barrage of advertising myths and fallacies perpetrated by the medical and food industries, along with sloppy mass-media reporting about health and medical news and research.

Did you know? Most nutrition, health and medical writers have no significant background in nutrition, health or medicine! Rather, they write their stories based on a 1-2 page press release provided by the medical journal or other biased source. The reporter simply paraphrases the press release information and adds a few quotes.

These press releases are often embargoed, giving media outlets several days to write their often shallow stories, void of important details, a balance of other expert views or important historical or industry perspective.). That’s also why these stories all appear in the same 24 hours and all seem so similar!

As a result of the daily barrage of misinformation we are exposed to, many of us have developed habits that contribute to the very metabolic, hormonal and physiological imbalances that harm our organs and biological systems right down to our genes. Those harms add up over years of time, and inexorably lead to more serious physiological damage, diseases, suffering and earlier death.

It’s true! We are often our own worst enemy as we age, making choices based on misinformation, cravings, convenience or other false beliefs and health-harming habits. It’s very much like the old expression, “death by a thousand cuts” as many small things begin to add up, coalescing into bigger problems.

A more unified theory of disease

And get this: if you look at the list of “diseases” I included above (hypertension, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, excess weight/obesity, chronic pain, arthritis, systemic inflammation, autoimmune problems, cancer, cognition/mood, etc.), do you realize that they are often interconnected?

Based on my many years of research and writing, these chronic problems often result from a few, more fundamental problems that appear to exhibit different symptoms. For example, high BP, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and excess weight/obesity often result from making the wrong lifestyle choices (see list below), causing chronically imbalanced metabolic and hormonal systems.

In turn, those problems drive systemic inflammation, chronic pain, arthritis and auto-immune problems. So indeed, all these diseases are largely fed by the unhealthy lifestyle choices people make day in and day out. In essence, these chronic problems represent different symptoms of the same chronic imbalances, leading to chronic disease. 

And if you asked me which problem is the most telling and often the foundational problem for all the rest, it’s excess visceral weight/obesity. Why? All that stored fat represents too many processed foods (refined carbs, oils, preservatives, additives and chemicals), with too little activity. Therefore, it’s a key indicator and symptom of lifestyle imbalance.

And all that visceral fat is not just storage. Those fat cells are very metabolically active, churning out inflammatory chemicals (cytokines), disrupting normal hormonal levels (including estrogen), and stressing organs, joints and muscles. High visceral fat often leads to metabolic syndrome (high glucose, triglycerides, blood pressure), insulin resistance, sleep problems, atherosclerosis, fatty liver (a very serious organ problem), and more!

So if you’ve gained more than 10 pounds since you were 30, you’re on a path to serious health problems that will result in more chronic disease.

The good news is that you can decided to change what you’re doing today! You can alter the path you are on any time you choose, and start down a path of healing and renewal. But you need to stay with it, don’t give up! Too many people fall back into their previous bad habits, focus on convenience and other harmful practices.

Lifestyle changes your genes

I’d like to start with some basic info about how the daily lifestyle choices you make affect your genes. Genes are not just your eye or hair color, thousands turn on and off every day. Consider this: every meal you eat triggers thousands of genes (digestion, metabolism, organs, hormones, etc.)! So does activity and exercise. Even your stress levels, sleep quality and thoughts all play significant roles in how your genes function (and whether you experience great health or develop chronic disease). This comes from a field of science called epigenetics; it looks at how the environment and lifestyle affect genetic activity and health.

Put simply, make the best choices for your unique physiology and emotional health as you age and you will activate health genes and minimize mutations and disease development. Make the wrong choices for your needs (as too many do) and you will increase genetic changes and mutations, increasing health conditions and disease development.

In fact, many health experts agree that 70-80% of our health is determined by our choices as we age, and that 70-80% of most chronic disease is avoidable! And here’s a shocker: $3 of every $4 of healthcare costs are spent on these very same diseases! So it’s not really age or inherited genes that determine our health as we age, it’s the daily, even hourly choices we make. Sadly, most people continue to make too many wrong choices as they age, leading to weight gain, less energy, systemic inflammation and disease.

I focus on these 5 areas of lifestyle because they bring the biggest improvement in health for the smallest effort:

1. Nutrition (great nutrition is a critical foundation for health and longevity whereas too many processed foods, refined sugars, processed carb/wheat products and oils will harm your metabolism, hormones, brain, organs and tissues while adding extra weight).

2. Activity and exercise (we need to keep moving with age, but too many become couch potatoes, a sedentary lifestyle that degrades metabolic, hormonal and musclo-skeletal systems, resulting in increasing weight, systemic inflammation, lower flexibility and weaker muscles/atrophy).

3. Stress management (chronic stress and related hormones like cortisol and adrenalin are known to speed aging and harm hormone balances and immune function, including cognition and emotional health. Managing stress is critical for healthy aging).

4. Sleep (adequate, quality sleep is absolutely critical for heat-to-toe repair, regeneration, weight management and hormonal balances, including, energy and brain function/cognition).

5. Thoughts (including emotions and beliefs also affect health significantly, including, disease development, outlook and healthy aging).

For more details on how a healthy lifestyle can help you age without chronic disease, see these links and the included source links, often at the end of the post:

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/telomeres-genes-and-aging

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/for-long-life-talk-to-your-genes 

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/stem-cells-health-and-aging 

See this fun, inspiring video about a group of middle-aged men dancing! These guys are young at heart, showing that age is less important than how old you believe you are:

Prevention

If you follow the basic lifestyle information I outlined above, and do that for several months, you will already be charting a path toward prevention for many chronic diseases. That foundation is a critical starting point.

Once that foundation is in place, the right supplements can help support a health and prevention strategy. A quality multiviatmin is a good addition, giving you a good balance of vitamins and minerals. But your unique circumstances (age, gender, energy, weight, health status, etc.) might require additional supplements, such as additional vitamin D and fish oil to help manage inflammation, immune function and cognitive/mood health, Co-Q10 for heart and mitochondrial pep, extra vitamin B or C for high stress, etc.

Supplementation should be based on an individualized program, tailored to specific needs and lifestyle. That’s something a certified and well-trained health can offer (I’ll include my e-mail contact at the end of this post).

Get screened

It’s also a great idea to get annual screening tests, including overall blood tests for things like:

  • Cholesterol/triglycerides (especially because refined carbs like sugar and wheat can raise LDL numbers, including small, dense atherosclerotic particles, the worst kind)
  • Fasting glucose (I recommend 90 mg/dL or lower)
  • Liver, kidney and thyroid function
  • A BMI with body fat percent (these work together because BMI by itself is NOT an accurate predictor of body fat and should never be used alone)
  • A 25-hydroxy vitamin D test (I recommend levels above 40 ng/mL as vitamin D is critical for immune function)
  • A hs-CRP test to measure systemic inflammation (I tell clients to aim for 1 or lower)
  • Other tests like heart scans or artery ultrasound tests as needed

Those screening tests are great for detecting problems early, providing a “heads up” so you can take action before you develop more serious health problems or diseases. Catching any health problem early is key to easier, less costly lifestyle treatment. Don’t let your body get damaged and compromise your health. That’s a no-win situation! To help with costs, I have several sites where you can order online blood tests and visit a local lab at discounted prices. Here are the links:

http://www.saveonlabs.com/

http://www.mdlabtests.com/

http://www.labtestportal.com/

I’ll help you manage forward

All of these lifestyle, prevention and screening tests become keys to optimizing your health, using a “manage forward” approach. You are looking ahead to catch problems early, and as a result, you can enjoy great health and energy as you age. And those screening tests can also find early trends or changes before you need more expensive and invasive treatments. You chart your path and decide how you want your health and longevity to unfold.

I’m here to help you on your path to better health and disease prevention with coaching and support, and help you create a plan to manage your health forward. It’s an easy concept, like managing your money, household or career.

The lack of managing forward is also why medicine fails so often. The medical industry is focused on trying to find the horse too long after it ran from the barn! It’s often too late; the odds of finding and catching that stallion are low, and require many more resources, time and cost. Even then, most medical practitioners focus on treating symptoms, not finding the problem’s origin or curing it!

What’s more, these managing forward and prevention skills are skills most doctors don’t study or get training in! They are poor at these skills and generally lack them. And most doctors are decades from being effective at health optimization or prevention or managing your health forward! Their entire education is built around drugs, procedures and surgeries, not lifestyle management or prevention.

Educate yourself!

As part of a managing forward approach, it’s great to have a few possible treatments ready to go in case things go south!

This link shows you how to lower high blood pressure without drugs:

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/lower-blood-pressure-naturally

This link has tips for how to lower inflammation and chronic disease:

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/inflammation-and-chronic-disease

Here is a post for how you can avoid or quickly stop a cold in a few days, and can be applied to related problems like sinus infections or congestion from allergies:

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/how-to-stop-a-cold

This link explains why aging is not a disease and it includes some amazing body facts, healthy aging and lifestyle tips:

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/aging-is-not-a-disease 

This post covers the anti-aging value of healthy anti-oxidants in your diet:

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/aging-and-antioxidants

Here are links to several aging myth posts:

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/5-myths-of-aging

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/4-more-myths-of-aging

Here are 2 new videos from David Sinclair, the anti-aging scientist that offer some great insights (part 1 and 2):

Another video that explores NAD+ (I covered this supplement in more detail in my Telomeres Genes and Aging post above):

A new study (non-human) shows how food choices might affect areas of aging, health, genes and disease formation:

http://esciencenews.com/articles/2015/05/12/deciphering.neural.code.links.food.aging

Another fascinating article that shows possible seasonal effects and changes in up to 25% or our gene expression for immune function and other areas:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/scientists-finally-figured-out-why-you-rarely-get-sick-in-the-summer/ar-BBjGSOg

A new study about vitamin D levels and cognition/Alzheimer’s:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150914114521.htm

A post I wrote that shows how you can live to be 100, including 3 inspiring stores of people who were active and engaged well into old age:

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/live-to-100

Here are some links that expose medical corruption and what to avoid/questions to ask:

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/medical-corruption-dont-be-a-victim

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/5-big-medical-lies

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/medicine-and-pseudoscience-new-insights

For questions or feedback, you can message me at: steve@endsicknessnow.com or add a comment below. 

© 2015 by Steven Carney/End Sickness Now

{ 3 comments }

Anonymous May 22, 2015 at 5:52 PM

Thanks a bunch for sharing these insights with everyone. You really understand what you’re talking about!
Bookmarked. Please additionally discuss with my website =).

Kami May 25, 2015 at 1:43 AM

Hurrah! I got a website from where I know how to obtain valuable facts concerning my study and knowledge.

herbert May 29, 2015 at 12:04 PM

You make this information about aging seem easy, it kind of feels complicated too. I’m interested in seeing previous content too!

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