The term is really pro-aging with function accompanying our predicted increase in longevity. In Europe, and at many prestigious medical schools, the term used is Integrative Medicine. Many are formulating their own “pro-aging” program with the help of the Internet, health food store personnel, and magazine articles. Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Jefferson have an Integrative Medicine fellowship where further training in this model is being offered.
For the first time in medical history aging is being looked upon as disease which can be delayed, internally at least. When I say aging, I am referring to the aging we are seeing with our parents who are aging “naturally.” This is internal plastic surgery. Integrative medicine utilizes FDA approved pharmaceuticals, but the goal is not to lower numbers whilst the patient is still feeling poorly. There is much more work to do for both the physician and the patient. Treating the patient panoramically is of paramount importance. Seven of us are turning fifty every minute. If all goes as predicted, we will live well into our nineties and beyond.
Conventional medical training is unsurpassable when diagnosis and acute crisis care are the issues. When one considers that at the turn of the last century we died around 50, certainly perimenopause (which may encompass a decade), early menopause (my youngest, 31 years old), menopause, andropause (male menopause), adrenopause, somatopause and functional health were not comprehensible.
There are now growing numbers of patients in their forties and fifties with chronic degenerative diseases. Twenty to thirty symptoms is becoming the norm, and our present pharmaceutical model is unable to restore patients to a functional level. Patients have fatigue, memory loss, hair loss, carbohydrate cravings, inability to lose weight, and multitudinous pains. An antidepressant is of little help.
Pro-aging medicine utilizes and prescribes medications when necessary, reintroduces whole food nutrition, appropriate supplementation (yes, you can hurt yourself with supplements), and natural hormonal replacement therapy (HRT). HRT requires a prescription and is identical to HRT prescribed by European endocrinologists. Hormonal blood levels are ordered, as well as other markers useful for prevention and reversal of declining health.
This type of medicine has been coined internal plastic surgery. Our biological age does note have to parallel our chronological age. And genes don’t necessarily have to express themselves. Often, gene expression is determined by how involved we become with our own health. In doctor talk, there is pluripotentiality to genetic expression.
The keys to longevity are in your hands, your brain. Dr. Morgan’s studies show those who are healthy and happy took control of their lives early on and never let go. They were able to sever themselves from their childhoods. They had long term intimate relationships. They made new friends every step of their lives. They relinquished their egos, eventually taking more satisfaction in serving others. Being world class was no longer an issue. Crisis addicted people and situations were no longer welcome.
The brain may turn out to be the major arbiter of survival, rather than the coronary artery.
With gracious aging, I realize I am not ANTI-Aging. These days I prefer the term Pro-Aging, which is not a term that grabs most. Internal plastic surgery, or Integrative Medicine is a much better term. The point is that we are trying to die old, feeling as young as possible. Personally, it seems silly to live to be a centenarian, if I don’t have most of my previous functions. Notice I said most, I hope to slow down.
Updated by Roberta Foss-Morgan, DO on September 23, 2008