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Old 05-21-2010, 09:08 AM   #1
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Cool aging as a disease

I recently read an article about aging issues and the article's focus was on getting doctors to treat aging as a disease rather than a normal process of getting older. There are research teams beginning to look at how to change those processes such as cardiovascular disease, altzheimers, dementia, certain types of cancer peculiar to aging, and other autoimmune disease that occur with aging. The article also is encouraging physicians to change their attitudes towards the treatment of the elderly. I was encouraged to read this new view towards the aging process. Aging has nothing to do with the "Golden Years", rather this process is an assualt on the human body akin to a massacre both to the human spirit and the body itself. What is your opinion on the relatively new approach to the issues mentioned above.
sincerely,
sabremaker

 
Old 05-25-2010, 02:54 PM   #2
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Re: aging as a disease

SABREMAKER,

My first thought is that "normal" aging is not a disease, although I may eventually have some second thoughts. :-) Honestly, I don't quite get it. Maybe if I knew what the heading of the article was, I could look it up and read it. Then I might be able to make a more informed comment.

Thanks for bringing up an interesting subject.

 
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Old 08-06-2010, 05:22 AM   #3
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Re: aging as a disease

Quote:
Originally Posted by SABREMAKER View Post
I recently read an article about aging issues and the article's focus was on getting doctors to treat aging as a disease rather than a normal process of getting older.
Aging is not only a nasty disease, but one that is incurable. Aging is truly a fatal disease. No one ever survives aging. Everyone dies as a direct result of the aging disease!

The aging process slowly attacks every organ and component of the body, the Mind..... the Bones...... the Muscles..... the Immune System..... etc.

I am close to 70, and I hate the aging process! Memory weakens...... energy weakens....... strength weakens........ ability to gorge oneself weakens....... sexual ability and desire weakens. One becomes much more dependent upon others as one ages; and much more vulnerable.

Quote:
The article also is encouraging physicians to change their attitudes towards the treatment of the elderly.
That will be the day!

Quote:
Aging has nothing to do with the "Golden Years", rather this process is an assault on the human body akin to a massacre both to the human spirit and the body itself.
Plus..... the aging process is ten times worse when faced with major, chronic, life-threatening diseases. As I get deeper into my senior years, my war against my chronic health problems becomes much more difficult. I've got to run faster just to keep up with the changes to my body.

That said, even though it takes significant coping skills, I have a relatively good quality of life and actually enjoy my days. I do not suffer from depression or anxiety most of the time, nor do I dwell on the negative aspects of aging and my chronic health problems. I do my best to enjoy my life. It also helps to have a loving, supportive, understanding and wonderful wife for 45 years!

My occasional battles with depression and anxiety occur depending upon the severity and frequency of the symptoms caused by my health problems, and their limitations.

Buts...... I am a realist, and I recognize that this "aging process" is a one way street, with no coming back. Aging is a disease, and a rather nasty one at that. But we can fight against this Aging Disease by eating a good quality diet, exercise, a positive attitude; and by doing so one can do their best to deal with this deadly disease.
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Last edited by Machaon; 08-06-2010 at 05:33 AM.

 
Old 08-06-2010, 05:15 PM   #4
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Re: aging as a disease

Aging is not a fatal disease...life is. None of us will survive it.

You make the best of what you have or haven't got and enjoy what you can with the wisdom you've earned.

Growing older may be hard but the alternative is even harder.

Trying to grow old with grace...............Jenny

 
Old 08-08-2010, 09:38 AM   #5
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Re: aging as a disease

Quote:
Originally Posted by jennybyc View Post
Aging is not a fatal disease...life is. None of us will survive it.
I can see and somewhat understand why you feel that way. But, for me, if "life" is a fatal disease, I would LOVE to succumb to "life" rather than to aging. I enjoyed life, especially during my earlier years. But....... I HATE the aging process, especially with the health problems that I am bearing. I HATE not being able to eat and drink and gorge myself as I did in my earlier years. I HATE the lack of energy, and the loss of memory, and the reduction in cognitive abilities. I HATE not being able to work. Most of all I HATE the every day issues I have to fight against these stupid diseases!

OTOH, I have a reasonably good quality of life, so I really do enjoy my days, most of the time.

Quote:
Growing older may be hard but the alternative is even harder.
The alternative is EASY, IMHO. The prospect of going to sleep for an eternity seems to be a pleasant alternative. When it's my time to go, I plan to visit the nearest Veterinarian, dressed up as a dog, and have him put me to sleep!

Take care.....
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Old 08-09-2010, 02:56 PM   #6
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Re: aging as a disease

If aging is a disease, when does it begin? We begin aging when we're born. Is childhood an aging disease? The teenage years? Middle age?

What if someone is in good health at any age? Should should they be treated for the aging disease?

In my opinion, aging is not much of a disease compared to a real diseae like cancer and cancer can happen at almost any age.

 
Old 08-10-2010, 02:56 AM   #7
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Re: aging as a disease

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnR41 View Post
If aging is a disease, when does it begin?
Supposedly, our cells, including brain cells, are naturally dying all the time. But, because our cells are dividing at the same time, creating new cells, we don't die off because of cell death. Cells divide an average of about 50 times over a lifetime, before they wear out and stop dividing.

As we get older, say 60?, and our cells are "worn out" from dividing... they stop dividing, but they don't stop dying out. So.... as we age, more and more of our cells die without being replaced.

When does it begin? I don't know the exact age, but it does happen, and the continuous cell death is a fatal "natural" disease, IMHO.

Quote:
We begin aging when we're born. Is childhood an aging disease? The teenage years? Middle age?
Actually, we being growing when we're born. We do "age", in other words, we do grow older. But the "aging" process of cell death, without replacement, only happens when we become somewhat elderly.
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Old 08-10-2010, 12:47 PM   #8
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Re: aging as a disease

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machaon View Post
Supposedly, our cells, including brain cells, are naturally dying all the time. But, because our cells are dividing at the same time, creating new cells, we don't die off because of cell death. Cells divide an average of about 50 times over a lifetime, before they wear out and stop dividing.
That's a really good reply to my question. It's amazing; I did some research after posting and came up with the same thing. I found a good explanation in a 15 year old book: "The End Of Aging" by Carol Orlock.

But then I remembered something else that I read in "Reader's Digest" under the heading, "Advances in Longevity / Anti-Aging". In this short report, it was explained that we can repair our DNA through healthy living habits. It said that telomeres can be repaired and lengthened so as to achieve more cell divisions.

This was based on an experiment where a group of people did the following:

1) they ate vegetarian whole foods

2) got 10% of calories from fat

3) walked 30 minutes six days per week

4) reduced stress

5) became part of a support group

The above items may not tell the whole story because more details are needed but the idea is that if one does the right things, one will produce an enzyme called telomerase. And telomerase repairs and lengthens telomeres to allow for more cell divisions. The end result is greater immunity and longevity.

I think it's a really big discovery that doesn't seem to be getting much coverage in the news. I only read about it that one time, about a year ago.

 
Old 08-10-2010, 02:15 PM   #9
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Re: aging as a disease

If it is not labled a disease, they can not market a drug for it. They can only market drugs for a KNOWN disease... It's all about the $$$$$$.

Last edited by Lulubells; 08-10-2010 at 02:16 PM.

 
Old 08-10-2010, 06:20 PM   #10
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Re: aging as a disease

JohnR, I remember that study and the issue of the telomeres. I think it is only part of the problem but it was the basis for all the research on anti-oxidents. And it has something to do with the low cal diets too.

But Machaon....here's is something you may not know about brain cells...they were wrong that they die off. Turns out the don't and that they can be rebuilt. And even more...the brain and spinal cord can rewire itself. It's called brain plasticity. Nerve cells just take so long to grow that the researchers gave up before seeing the growth.....months for 1 cell to regenerate. And I can speak from personal experience here.

Four years ago this Christmas I dislocated 5 vertebrae in my neck, breaking 3 of them. My neurosurgeon thought for sure I would lose the use of my left arm and possibly my left leg. After surgery I had almost no left arm movement and could drag my left leg but had to walk with a cane. I also had spotty paralysis throughout my body. During recovery in the hospital, I stopped breathing and almost didn't make it and suffered brain damage on top of it. I could not concentrate and lost words all the time but the biggest problem was I lost the ability to write long hand. Took me months to be able to sign my own name and my signature was very different.

Butwas lucky to have a great rehab team including a physical therapist whose husband was a spine surgeon. I started PT in the hospital and then at home. But once I could get to the PT facility, they really worked on me, working the left arm and leg. My left leg began to respond and they had me do the exercises on both sides in case I had a muscle not working on the right too. The left arm they feared a "frozen shoulder" and the therapy just kept it loose. They stopped at about 4 months post-op and then waited while I worked at home.

At 9 months post-op, I could feel the left arm starting to respond so back to therapy. By 13 months post-op, I had most of the use of my arm back. I gets weak much faster than the right but it works.

At 18 months post-op they started to work on balance. No one thought that would come back but it did with some very creative exercises.

At 2 1/2 years post-op, I went back for more PT on my spine to get the areas around the massive fusion I had done to work better. I can now pick up my 30 pound granddaughter.

On the brain issues, I had to wait about 6 months to start really working on that as I was just so tired all of the time. I began by reading one paragraph at a time and trying to remember it. Took me several months to remember but I did. I started doing math puzzles like Sudoku's and that helped again...started with the easy ones and worked at it until I could do the hardest ones. Still do them every day. Took me 2 1/2 years to be able to read a book. And the first book I read was one on brain plasticity and the ability of the brain to re-wire itself when one area is injured. I was looking for ways to learn to write again.

Interestingly enough, I could still type(and do math long hand) and I had this weird experience of seeing every word I spoke typed out on a keyboard as I spoke. My brain was re-wiring itself to speak through the keyboard. But I wanted to write again. I found a story in the book on plasticity about a child who could not write due to a brain injury and the docs trying tapping into a nearby area that involves artistic endeavors. They had the child try tracing designs...easy at first and getting more and more complex. So I did the same thing...traced. I found all sorts of books that got more and more complex. and after a year of working at it, I was able to draw again(was never very good but was now better than ever) but still not write. So I colored and I painted. Finally, 3 years post brain injury(this past winter), I could write again long hand. I had re-wired my own brain with persistence.

Those areas of my brain may be dead...I don't know but I got the abilities back. Or the areas may have healed. I've heard of stroke survivors getting back skills up to 10 years post stroke.

So I'm not afraid of much now. I've survived paralysis and brain damage and recovered at least 95% of everything I lost. And now I use my dictionary all the time to improve my spelling and word recognition again so I'm now better than I was.

The brain and body may age but if you use it as best you can, you can regain function again. You might loose some but you might gain more than you lost.

The old theories are now going up in smoke. The new theories are that even with serious injuries, you can re-train the brain and spinal cord(but to a lesser extent) but it takes work and persistence. Luckily, I'm a stubborn old bat and wouldn't give up.

gentle hugs............Jenny

 
Old 08-15-2010, 02:33 PM   #11
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Re: aging as a disease

Jenny--I am so impressed by all the hard work you have done to get where you are today. I'm sure it would have been very easy just to give up and be taken care of. You are an inspiration...

 
Old 08-15-2010, 06:07 PM   #12
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Re: aging as a disease

You only get once chance to do this life so you might as well fight as hard as you can to make it as good as you can...right?

I'm not inspirational....just stubborn!

thanks..............Jenny

 
Old 08-21-2010, 02:10 PM   #13
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Re: aging as a disease

I have read about and seen some documentaries regarding aging as a "disease" and I am not impressed. This line of thinking is akin to people who cling to being "brought back" when a cure is found for their causes of death via cryogenics or the ones who desire to be cloned and have their current brains "downloaded" into newer models of themselves in some sort of a sci-fi effort to live forever.

Even if a "cure" for aging was discovered or invented, can anyone imagine the ramifications of such a thing? How selfish can someone be to want to live eternally at the expense of generations of people who will undoubtedly follow? Eventually, with everyone living forever and more continuing to be born, where would we all live? I'd rather go on and succumb to death when it's my "time" to go than to slowly starve to death or face a violent death due to the inevitable land and space wars that would surely be a part of a society who refused to die.

The only way that curing aging could work would be for there to be no more births OR for new land to be created. Even in a futuristic society with colonies on other planets and selective breeding, I still believe that space/land/oxygen/food would be a finite thing. However, it would be grand if a cure for aging related illnesses and their devastating symptoms was discovered which could make our end of life quality better as long as it didn't affect our appointment with the Grim Reaper. Then again, it just wouldn't be natural to be sailing and making hoops on the weekend with the grand children and feeling like we were 20, only to just check out when our reservation expired, you know?

I guess I have mixed emotions on the age as a disease thing.

 
Old 09-14-2010, 02:50 PM   #14
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Re: aging as a disease

Quote:
Originally Posted by kentuckykimmie View Post
I guess I have mixed emotions on the age as a disease thing.
Well...... aside from the overpopulation issues, the question is whether or not the aging process leads to death or not, and if so, would aging be considered good for your health or bad for your health, like a disease.

I am close to 70. My body is dying. My immune system is getting weaker, which is normal to the aging disease. Virtually every part of one's body gets more and more "diseased" as one ages. It is a natural process of the aging disease.

That said... I am enjoying life, as much as my aging, diseased body will allow, and am learning how to live with, and tolerate this deadly aging disease.

Lastly...... other diseases like cancer, or asthma, or COPD, or Heart Failure, don't always lead to death, but aging ALWAYS leads to death. Aging IS a disease process.
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Last edited by Machaon; 09-14-2010 at 02:51 PM.

 
Old 09-16-2010, 03:37 PM   #15
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Re: aging as a disease

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lulubells View Post
If it is not labled a disease, they can not market a drug for it. They can only market drugs for a KNOWN disease... It's all about the $$$$$$.
There is a drug company working on making resveratrol or something like resveratrol in the laboratory. It's supposed to work like a super antioxident that will add many additional years of life. I think it's being tested now so as to get approval from the FDA. If it works and they get approval they will be able to make specific health claims. Resveratrol from grapes is being marketed now but they can't make any claims for longevity. That's the way I understand it; perhaps someone else knows more on this subject.

But you are correct to say that it's all about money! Yes! Spending on antiaging products and services totaled 36.5 billion in 2004. With an industry this big, you can be sure that there will be more books, articles and advertising to further stimulate sales.


 
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