Premature aging of the brain, circulation, heart, joints, skin, digestive tract, and immune system can begin at any time of life. Various factors cause the body to deteriorate, including injuries that do not heal completely, allergies, toxic chemicals, and heavy metals, poor nutrition, excessive radiation sunlight, overwhelming stress, and inactivity.
Chronological age and biological age not the same. Aging is a physiological process that at times is only remotely connected to how old you are. How you look is sometimes an indicator of you biological age, but appearances often can be deceptive.
Sometimes premature aging occurs without any symptoms until, suddenly, there is a catastrophic event such as a heart attack, cancer, or a stroke. Other times, atrophy or tissue wasting can occur, as in muscle weakness with lack of exercise, mucous membrane and glandular deterioration with decreased hormone levels and brain atrophy in Alzheimer's disease.
Frequently, however, a body that is aging prematurely sends a message to its owner that it is malfunctioning. The most common message is pain. The cause of the pain might include such factors as inflammation, joint instability, insufficient blood supply, or pressure within an organ or on surrounding tissues.
Without the diseases of premature aging, a normal life expectancy is estimated to be 120 years. Many people are capable of living their lives without pain and suffering caused by such chronic degenerative diseases.
Unfortunately, conventional medical care has focused more on symptom relief with pain medications and surgical procedures and less on reversing the accelerated aging process, which is potentially more effective over the long term. If premature aging can be halted and normal function reestablished, then people not only will live longer but also will have a higher quality of life with the elimination of pain.
A health restoration program could include many modern laboratory assessments such as testing for antioxidant status, digestive analysis, immune system function, hormone status, circulation, and other aging markers. Then a comprehensive treatment program can be established that emphasizes nutritional therapies, digestive cofactors, enzyme enhancement, hormone replacement and lifestyle changes.
Some of the most effective strategies include EDTA chelation therapy, and environmental medicine. EDTA chelation is a series of intravenous treatments that removes heavy metals and can increase circulation throughout the body. Environmental medicine identifies toxic and allergic factors to remove or avoid them and/or desensitizes the body so that their effect is negligible. Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, massage, hydromassage, and mind/body therapies can also reduce the chronic stress on the body that interferes with normal functioning and contributes to premature aging. Prolotherapy can help keep joints stabilized.
Patients should not automatically accept professional advice that they are "just getting older" or that they "will just have to learn to live with it" or that there is "nothing more we can do". Anti-aging and complementary medicine offers innovative approaches now, that will likely become common practice in the 21st century.
One thing to keep in mind is that those who live to be 100 years and older are more likely to have had young mothers, according to research from the University of Chicago's Center on Aging. A mother's age when she gives birth has a large impact on the future lifespan of her child, the study found. Researchers reviewed census data, social security administration database and genealogical records and identified 198 U.S. centenarians born from 1890 to 1893. Results showed that children born to mothers under the age of 25 have nearly double the chance of living to be 100 than those born to older mothers. The father's age did not appear to have an impact.
Other factors that also appear to affect longevity include growing up in the Western United States, growing up on a farm and being a first-born child. However, the researchers said mother's age appears to be more important for longevity than any other factor. The findings could have major implications, as an increasing number of women are putting of childbirth until later ages in favor of career or other pursuits. [EarthTimes.org June 26, 2006]
Werners syndrome (WS), a rare familial disease with symptoms resembling premature aging, is considered a partial model of human aging. People with WS develop a vast array of age-related diseases including arteriosclerosis, malignant neoplasms, cancer, type II diabetes mellitus, ocular cataracts and osteoporosis in early adult life. These individuals have a generally aged appearance including early graying, loss of hair, and skin wrinkling. The gene responsible for WS (known as WRN) has been identified (and even cloned) by National Institute on Aging-funded researchers (Yu et al., Science 4/12/96) as one that produces an enzyme involved in DNA metabolism and repair. Several signs of defective DNA metabolism have been identified in cells obtained from WS patients. The consequences of the defective WRN gene may be related to the accumulation of DNA damage in the cells of people with WS leading to the premature development of age-related diseases.