The ABC’s of aging in the modern era

All we are is energy… Molecules operating together at discrete frequencies to drive the chemistry of life.  This energy is harnessed, in our beginning, to allow us to grow.  We mature and adapt—passing certain milestones, coming of age as an adult—a process that takes about 25 or 30 years. These milestones have names like toddler, teen, adolescent… and these milestones reflect our age expectancy.  As humans cross the quarter century mark we continue our milestones—our age expectancy—but the processes drastically change. We have much more control over those processes than we may think.

 

The process of aging

After we reach the quarter century mark, we continue to accrue years chronologically, and we begin the process of aging. Aging is a modern problem. Of all the people in recorded history to reach the age of 65 years, two-thirds of them are living today.  This is, in large part, because we have become much better at prenatal care, public health and treating infectious disease… We cannot discount medical advances and people learning how to take better care of themselves.

 

age expectancy growth

Our life expectancy has grown more since 1900 than in all of recorded time until then.

 

Up until the past 100 years or so, the life expectancy of humans was determined much as it is for wild animals—we were killed by other animals or died from extremes of climate, availability of food, or infection… but rarely due to old age.

It wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that we began seeing a rapid and significant increase in human life expectancy. This why aging is a modern problem.

 

Resilience and its role in age expectancy

We are blessed with a remarkable reserve—sometimes known as our resiliency.  During our first 20 years or so of life, we are growing and essentially in a developmental phase; developing increasing reserve capacity. During the next 20 years or so we have maximum function and reserve capacity.  Consequently, most of us experience our optimum level of health during this time. After that, we begin to lose reserve capacity and function, resulting in a level of sub-optimal health and undiagnosed conditions (the aging process has started but we are not yet aware of).

Think of aging as a decline in one or more of the following:

 

The ABC’s of aging… Ability, Balance and Capacity

Ability

      • Functions of daily living
      • Cognitive ability
      • Independence

Balance

      • Your Cells
      • Organ System
      • Mind, Body and Spirit

Capacity (Reserves)

      • To resist disease
      • To handle stress

 

We monitor for disease or morbidity, and at the first sign we try to address what we see with an impressive armamentarium—drugs, surgeries, support systems. Disease is recognized and managed. Thereby, we extend life—this morbidity stage.  The result is prolonged lifespan with diminished functioning, ie: a loss in vitality.

The first step towards greater vitality is understanding your “ABC’s” as they presently exist for you.  So many of my patients don’t really appreciate the opportunity for improved vitality they have.  We can help with that and help you gain back some of the vitality you may have lost.

Stay tuned for more conversation on aging and vitality.

Contact me to learn more about the improving your resiliency and life-expectancy, and for help taking inventory of your ABC’s.  Let’s make a plan to upgrade your vitality today!