This morning a very close family member passed away. Sudden death is grieved a bit differently compared to a person who has lived a long life and is suffering in pain for a time in the hospital. Most of us would prefer to die in our sleep compared to requiring constant attention and pain. What options do we really have?
In my book, Longevity Secrets for Healthy Living, I point out two of the main causes of aging – loss telomere length and loss of human growth hormone. The telomere is a caplet-like device at the end of our chromosomes that loses a bit of its length each time the cell replicates. The human growth hormone is the driving force that kick-starts our growth from infant through our teenage years.
Our lifestyle can minimize or cause a faster deterioration of the telomere length. The lifespan of a cell is affected by telomere length. Consequently, our lives are also shortened. Human growth hormone production decreases as we age. It is a normal program of the body to make less and less each decade.
The good news is that lifestyle changes can add extra years to your life – good, useful, enjoyable years. Other factors can change the body’s daily production of human growth hormone to be nearly equal with levels enjoyed decades earlier.
Longevity is an interesting subject because most of us do not know what causes us to age or what to do about it. We may think doing these three or four things will make our later years great. Yet, we might be doing three or four things that actually help and nine or ten things that do not.
A person’s health tends to stabilize as they reach 60 years of age. Whatever health level exists at age 60 does not improve with time. When they have a serious disease, their health level declines, and it seldom ever makes it back to the level they enjoyed earlier in their lives. Yes, there are exceptions, but they are exceptions.
What control do we have over our future age and expected health? I speak and write about these individual topics regularly. The first thing I tell a baby-boomer audience is to ensure that you have an annual physical. You must know where your health is today. I add three or more extra medical tests to my doctor’s normal request. I add the c-reactive protein, homocysteine level, and vitamin D3 tests.
Each is inexpensive enough if a person had to pay for them out of his or her pocket.
The c-reactive protein tells you the level of inflammation in the body. It should be as close to zero as possible. If there is any significant amount of inflammation, your doctor should begin looking for the cause. The test will not tell you where the problem is, only that you have a problem.
The homocysteine level check is a good barometer for your heart. It used to be the ‘gold standard’ and is still a good test. The vitamin D3 test gives another general indication of health. Vitamin D3 deficiency however can lead to serious health disorders as you age.
The number two factor for a healthy and enjoyable old age is diet. Each of us has our comfort zone for foods – those we eat all the time and those we refuse to eat at all. The body requires over 30+ nutrients daily for a healthy and stable body. Long-term deficiencies in any of those 30+ nutrients can lead to elder health issues.
Diets that leave the body with an acidic environment are not desired. Bone density issues are the top of the list for years of living in acidosis. Our blood pH (level of alkalinity and acidity) remains in the 7.4 (plus or minus a little bit).
The body will leech calcium from the bones to maintain proper pH. Foods high in vegetables and fruits yield an alkaline body. All other foods, plus normal metabolic activities cause acidic levels in the body. pH paper can be bought online or found in some health stores. If you do not know your body’s pH, get some pH paper, and test yourself.
Toxin awareness and avoidance are critical for long-term health. Our foods and personal care products have hundreds of chemicals that our bodies should not have. Become an intellectual reader of labels and make decisions to avoid products with, at a minimum, the ‘Top 10’ deadly toxins in products we use all the time.
Stress management should be done several times daily. Find three or four routines that you enjoy doing and do them regularly. Stress leads to hypertension, accumulated fat around your belly, and serious health issues when left untreated. Stress is what you hang on to, not what happens to you.
Learn to ‘Let It GO!’ There is no good reason to hang on to stress. Mental, emotional, and physical problems develop over time that could have been prevented.
Exercise can help with telomere length assuming that other lifestyle issues are near normal – obesity, smoking, alcohol usage, and more. Fasting is the fastest and easiest (for some) to increase levels of human growth hormone.
We can control having an annual physical, eating properly, avoiding toxins and stress, and an active life with exercise (walking is a good start). Fasting is the icing on the cake to begin that journey to better health when you are approaching old age!
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com