Posted on Sep 17, 2014, 6 a.m.
Scientific evidence demonstrates the diverse health-promoting benefits of the tenets of anti-aging medicine. How high can you ascend on the Anti-Aging Lifestyle Pyramid of 10 essential approaches for a healthy lifespan?
The goal of anti-aging medicine is not to merely prolong the total years of an individual's life, but to ensure that those years are enjoyed in a productive and vital fashion. The clinical specialty of anti-aging medicine utilizes diagnostic protocols that are supported by scientific evidence to arrive at an objective assessment upon which effective treatment is assigned. Physicians who dispense anti-aging medical care are concerned with the restoration of optimal functioning of the human body’s systems, organs, tissues, and cells.
Potentially 37 million premature deaths over 15 years may be prevented, simply if people modulated six specific modifiable risk factors. Various countries aim to reduce premature mortality from four main non-communicable diseases (NCDs)-namely – cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancers, and diabetes. These nations have targeted to reduce these disease incidences by 25% from 2010 levels by 2025. Potentially 37 million premature deaths over 15 years may be prevented, simply if nations adopt the anti-aging medical model. Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London (United Kingdom), and colleagues report that this target may be achievable by the reduction of six specific modifiable risk factors.
Using country-level data on deaths and risk factors and epidemiological models, the researchers estimate the number of deaths that could be prevented between 2010 and 2025 by reducing the burden of each of the six risk factors to globally-agreed target levels -- tobacco use (30% reduction and a more ambitious 50% reduction), alcohol use (10% reduction), salt intake (30% reduction), high blood pressure (25% reduction), and halting the rise in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes. Overall, the findings suggest that meeting the targets for all six risk factors would reduce the risk of dying prematurely from the four main NCDs by 22% in men and 19% for women in 2025 compared to what they were in 2010. Worldwide, this improvement is equivalent to delaying or preventing at least 16 million deaths in people aged 30- 70 years and 21 million in those aged 70 years or older over 15 years. The authors predict that the largest benefits will come from reducing high blood pressure and tobacco use. They calculate that a more ambitious 50% reduction in prevalence of smoking by 2025, rather than the current target of 30%, would reduce the risk of dying prematurely by more than 24% in men and by 20% in women. The study investigators submit that: “If the agreed risk factor targets are met, premature mortality from the four main NCDs will decrease to levels that are close to the 25×25 target, with most of these benefits seen in low-income and middle-income countries.” [Kontis V, Mathers CD, Rehm J, Stevens GA, Shield KD, Bonita R, Riley LM, Poznyak
V, Beaglehole R, Ezzati M. “Contribution of six risk factors to achieving the 25×25 non- communicable disease mortality reduction target: a modelling study. Lancet. 2014 May 2. pii: S0140-6736(14)60616-4.]
University of Zurich (Switzerland) researchers submit that there are four lifestyle choices that can add years to your life. Eva Martin-Diener and colleagues assessed data collected on 16,721 participants aged between 16 and 90 years, enrolled in the Swiss National Cohort (SNC). Identifying the four main risk factors for NCDs as: tobacco smoking, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful alcohol consumption, the researchers translated the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle into numbers. An individual who smokes, drinks a lot, is physically inactive and has an unhealthy diet has 2.5 fold higher mortality risk in epidemiological terms than an individual who looks after his/her health. The study authors conclude that: “The combined impact of four behavioural [non-communicable disease] risk factors on survival probability was comparable in size to a 10-year age difference.”
[Martin-Diener E, Meyer J, Braun J, Tarnutzer S, Faeh D, Rohrmann S, Martin BW. “The combined effect on survival of four main behavioural risk factors for non-communicable diseases.” Prev Med. 2014 Jun 2. pii: S0091-7435(14)00189-3.]
Indeed, the tenets of the anti-aging lifestyle have clear and wide-ranging health benefits, including:
• Reverse heart disease: Northwestern University (Illinois, USA) researchers report that when adults in their 30s and 40s decide to quit unhealthy habits that are harmful to their heart and embrace healthy lifestyle changes, they can control and potentially even reverse the natural progression of coronary artery disease.
[Bonnie Spring, Arlen C. Moller, Laura A. Colangelo, Juned Siddique, Megan Roehrig, Martha L. Daviglus, et al. “Healthy Lifestyle Change and Subclinical Atherosclerosis in Young Adults: Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study.” Circulation. 2014;130:10-17.]
• Combat cardiovascular and cancer risks: A study by a separate team from Northwestern University found that those who maintained goals for six or seven of the cardiovascular health metrics had a 51% lower risk of incident cancer, as compared with those meeting no goals.
[Laura J. Rasmussen-Torvik, Christina M. Shay, Judith G. Abramson, Christopher A. Friedrich, Jennifer A. Nettleton, Anna E. Prizment, Aaron R. Folsom. “Ideal Cardiovascular Health Is Inversely Associated With Incident Cancer: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.” Circulation. 2013;127:1270-1275, March 18 2013.]
• Reduce stroke risk: German Cancer Research Centre(Germany) scientists submit that about 38% of stroke cases may be preventable through adherence to a healthy lifestyle profile.
[Tikk K, Sookthai D, Monni S, Gross ML, Lichy C, Kloss M, Kaaks R. “Primary preventive potential for stroke by avoidance of major lifestyle risk factors: the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition-heidelberg cohort.” Stroke. 2014 Jul;45(7):2041-6.]
• Slash Alzheimer’s Disease risk: University of California, San Francisco team reports that: “around a third of Alzheimer's diseases cases worldwide might be attributable to potentially modifiable risk factors.
[Sam Norton, Fiona E Matthews , Deborah E Barnes, Kristine Yaffe, Carol Brayne. “Potential for primary prevention of Alzheimer's disease: an analysis of population-based data.” The Lancet Neurology, Volume 13, Issue 8, Pages 788 - 794, August 2014.]
• Reduce disability: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine team correlates poor lifestyle choices to increased risks of arthritis and difficulties walking.
[Lois G. Kim, Joy Adamson, Shah Ebrahim. "Influence of life-style choices on locomotor disability, arthritis and cardiovascular disease in older women: prospective cohort study." Age and Ageing, September 29, 2013.]
• Lengthen telomeres: University of California, San Francisco researchers find that, among men with localized, early-stage prostate cancer, lifestyle changes resulted in a significant increase in telomere length of approximately 10%. The more participants changed their behavior by adhering to the recommended lifestyle program, the more dramatic were their improvements in telomere length.
[D Ornish, J Lin, JM Chan, E Epel, C Kemp, G Weidner, et al. "Effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomerase activity and telomere length in men with biopsy-proven low-risk prostate cancer: 5-year follow-up of a descriptive pilot study." Lancet Oncol. 2013 Sep 16.]
People may lose 30 minutes of life expectancy for every two cigarettes they smoke, for being 11 pounds overweight, and for eating an extra portion of red meat daily. David Spiegelhalter, from the University of Cambridge, has coined the concept of a “microlife," defined as 30 minutes of life expectancy – as a practical substitution for the statistical concept of the hazard ratio. He computed that a million half hours -- or 57 years -- roughly corresponds to a lifetime of adult exposure to any given hazard. Further, he noted that at current mortality rates in the UK, a 35- year-old can expect to live another 55 years or 481,000 hours or very nearly a million microlives. Spiegelhalter has calculated that people may lose 30 minutes of life expectancy for every two cigarettes they smoke, for being 11 pounds overweight, and for eating an extra portion of red meat daily. Dr Spiegelhalter submits that this approach "allows a general, non-academic audience to make rough but fair comparisons between the sizes of chronic risks, and is based on a metaphor of 'speed of ageing.'
[Spiegelhalter D. “Using speed of ageing and ‘microlives’ to communicate the effects of lifetime habits and environment.” BMJ. 2012 Dec 14;345:e8223.]
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