Growing Younger In The 21st Century: The Art & Science of Becoming Ageless - By Karen Norris
By Karenksn on August 04, 2012
How would you change the way you live your life if you knew you could live well past 100 in excellent health? Imagine “middle age” being 65 or 70. Several top physicians specializing in anti-aging, metabolic and regenerative medicine report that the human body was actually designed to live for 120 years. Seriously. There is now tangible, empirical proof that you can live a healthy, vibrant life much longer than you ever thought possible.
More advances have been made in regenerative medicine in the last dozen years than the last 100, and that progress continues to grow exponentially. Some of the most transformative and thrilling achievements in medical history are upon us right now, changing how we age biologically.
To best take advantage of what is now humanly possible, we must all embrace the exciting reality that there is a new era upon us.
Equal Parts Art and Science
So what does it take to “grow younger” in the 21st century?” It’s equal parts art and science. It’s about taking responsibility for your own health, making well-informed decisions, and identifying and partnering with well-qualified medical professionals.
It’s understanding the “science” that is now available that can spot diseases before they take root. It’s about balancing your hormones and keeping your brain chemistry in check. It’s about taking the right vitamins and nutritional supplements and knowing what the “right” vitamins and supplements are. It’s about identifying the right diet for your body type and emotional make-up and understanding nutri-genomics, which is following a nutritional plan that is specifically designed for your metabolic profile.
The “art” of reversing the aging process lies in the new world of cosmetic medicine, with revolutionary state-of-the-art lasers, skincare products created from your own stem cells and a myriad of dermal fillers, botox and other non-surgical aesthetic procedures available. Even advancements in the technology of hair care combined with effective use of clothing, and makeup can take years off your appearance and improve your self image dramatically. Top plastic surgeons contend that both men and women can maintain a 40-something appearance for decades.
A New World Order
There is a new world order in medicine, one in which medical schools are graduating physicians who specialize in preventive, integrative medicine rather than those trained to treat disease. Anti-aging is becoming part of the core curriculum, to address the life-altering technology that is now available to prolong a healthy life. Within the next 15 years the global population will include two billion in the “over 60” crowd.
Between now and 2025, the race for genetic enhancements will be what the Space Race was in the 20th Century. Genetic therapies and biomedical enhancements will become a multi-billion dollar industry. Genetic coding, gene therapy, growing new organs and tissues from stem cells and revitalizing old or diseased organs will be an everyday occurrence. Enhancements to increase your athletic abilities and boost your intelligence are all advancements bubbling just below the surface.
The ‘Star Trek’ Physical
Case in point: A new physical exam that uses ultrasound technology is far superior to the traditional ‘check-up’ by your doctor, who uses hands and questions to determine vitals and your general health. The physical exam you’ve been getting annually since you were a child is outdated, inadequate and inferior. And there are no absolutes. Some physicians may be very thorough, others may be cursory and brief, depending on their style and your individual circumstances as the patient.
Just as we have evolved from using a rolled up piece of paper applied to a woman’s chest to a classic tube stethoscope device, the ultrasound exam makes the “poking, prodding, looking, listening” exam antiquated and inconclusive. With an ultrasound physical, fingers in the rectum and hands in the female genitalia become obsolete. Isn’t that a comforting thought?
The ultrasound allows your doctor to see every organ, nodules, pre-cancers, damage, changes in shape and size due to disease or dysfunction of an organ, inflammation, and calcifications. It can also detect if your body is dehydrated, a more serious condition that many would think.
Physicians who do manual examinations of the human body miss things on a regular basis. MRI, CAT and PET scans are useful in identifying disease, certainly. For example, the MRI can recognize Multiple Sclerosis and specific cancers. The CAT Scan is useful in finding bleeds in the brain and lung tumors. The PET Scan may find spot cancers. Although important, these imaging techniques don’t compare to the ultrasound in terms of its global general review. Furthermore, these tests may not be ordered if a routine hands-on physical presents no evidence to do so.
It’s up to all of us to be our own advocates and to request the best technology that is available . A head-to-toe ultrasound physical, the ‘Star Trek’ physical as some in the medical field have called it, can yield results never possible before, catching abnormalities and disease that would be missed 90 percent of the time if only an old-fashioned physical were performed. Here’s a look at what an ultrasound physical can examine and detect.
Transcranial Ultrasound: Measures blood flow in eye blood vessels and middle cerebral arteries (the main arteries into the brain) Benefits: Can detect aneurysms and damaged blood vessels; can provide information regarding migraines and dementia; most brain diseases are acquired. Can also detect increased velocity of the blood flow due to vascular spasm or blockage.
Carotid Ultrasound: Measures blood flow through main artery in the neck to brain
Benefits: Can show early changes in blood flow, thickening of the intima, and advanced atherosclerotic disease -blockages
Thyroid Ultrasound: Shows goitrous changes, enlarged thyroid, cancer masses, nodules, calcifications, cysts, atrophy even in patients with normal physical exam. Early diagnosis of disease is possible with this ultrasound.
Echo Cardiogram: Shows heart size (all four chambers), ejection fraction, changes in wall motion as a sign of previous or current heart attack and heart failure; early changes in heart appearance due to increased alcohol intake or increased blood pressure. Can detect damaged heart valves such as: mitral, tricuspid, pulmonic, and aortic. Also can detect changes/enlargements in left/right ventricle left/right atrium Can predict early atrial fibrillation, heart failure. Can suggest coronary artery disease.
Breast Ultrasound: The best test to find breast cysts. Also shows nodules, masses, and calcifications at times in patients with negative breast exam. Can detect cancers and pre-cancers.
Abdominal Ultrasound: Shows enlarged liver, spleen, at times in patients with normal physical exams or in obese patients; allows to find early changes of alcoholic hepatitis, fatty liver, gall stones, gall bladder wall thickening, liver cyst, hemangiomas, other benign tumors and cancer, calcifications, cysts/calcifications of pancreas, atherosclerotic changes in abdominal aorta. Can identify damage due to: drugs and infections. Can detect pancreatic cancer or previously benign cysts, sarcomas, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and spleen calcification.
Renal Ultrasound: Shows kidney stones, cysts, tumors- often as accidental finding in patients without complaints, fluid collection in kidneys (hydronephrosis), enlargement or kidney atrophy.
Pelvic Ultrasound: Uterine enlargement, fibroids, changes in ovaries (increased size, cysts, tumors), prominent endometrium, endometrical cancers, cervical cysts, sarcomas, myosarcomas, and fluid collection due to advancing ovarian cancer. Also can determine bladder size and identify bladder stones.
Prostate Ultrasound: Size of prostate, its nodules, calcifications, masses, bladder size and function, enlarged prostate, abnormal growth in prostate/bladder, presence of residual urine in patient with enlarged prostate at times in patient with normal DRE.
Scrotal Ultrasound: Size of testicles and epdidymus, presence of varicocele, spermatocele, water in testicles, information regarding infertility, cancer, over use of testosterone-shrunken testicles, smaller testicles as a result of aging and hormonal change, calcifications, tumors at times not found on physical exam.
Make an appointment with your doctor and ask if an ultrasound physical is an option. If not, our website has several hundred physicians listed who specialize in metabolic, functional and regenerative medicine who offer these tests. If you are unable to locate a physician in your area we can help you find the closest one to you at no charge. Just email us at Karen@SimplyAgelessNation.com. Many of these tests are covered by insurance companies if your doctor will provide a referral letter. This could save your life and/or the life of a loved one.
Belief Becomes Biology
There is an old saying that “belief becomes biology.” It may seem to some that living past 100 in great physical and mental health is preposterous. That’s because we are all programmed early on to believe that once we hit 50 or 60 it’s downhill from there and our only option is to do our level best to decline into older age gracefully. Even if we’re in tip-top shape, society influences us with the narrative that “you can’t stop getting older and decaying.”
Nurture, Not Nature
To change how your body and your mind ages, first you have to change what you currently believe to be true – that aging is playing the hand that you are dealt. Nothing could be further from the truth. Genetics play only about a 20 percent role in how we age. It is nurture, not nature, which matters here. Lifestyle choices are 80 percent of the aging process and something we can control. Understanding that, and knowing what you can do, can change what you believe, and in turn begin to change you from within.
We are at the dawning of a new age. As individuals we must embrace the advancements in technology and take responsibility for our own health now, which will determine the success of our evolution over the next 10-15 years. Genetic coding, gene therapy, and growing new organs and tissues from stem cells is here and happening. You’ll be amazed at what’s in store for us.
So get ready to reset the dynamics of your thinking about getting older. You may be around a lot longer than you think.