Archive for the ‘Aging’ Category
Arthritis is commonly associated with back pains, joint and knees stiffness, and muscle aches. This is a disease of joint disorder that includes inflammation in and around the joints. It can cause stiffness and limit movement in the joint of the person suffering from the disease or can lead to being bedridden or home bound to those with severe cases. There are about 100 types of arthritis, the most common forms are:
Osteoarthritis- affects twice as many women as men and occurs mostly in women of advancing age. Trauma and injury are also risk factors. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative for of arthritis resulting from the breakdown of cartilage covering the ends of bones. This is most common in weight-bearing joints like spine, hips, and knees.
Lupus- or systemic lupus erythematosus, is autoimmune disease with no known cure. It is chronic and can be severely debilitating when left untreated, attacking the skin, nerves, kidneys, lungs, and heart, aside from the joints.
Rheumatoid Arthritis- Seen mostly in women with a female-to-male ratio of about 3:1. This is also an autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system inadvertently attacks a joint lining, usually in the wrist, fingers, elbow, shoulders, neck, knees, ankle, and feet, causing inflammation.
To treat arthritis, a long-term management by a qualified rheumatologist is needed. Medicines are available to treat various stages of arthritis like analgesics that include paracetamol and acetaminophen for pain relief. NSAIDS or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are widely prescribed to relieve both pain and swelling but can cause side effects like nausea and ulcers.
For more severe cases, surgery is recommended to replace a joint that is totally destroyed. There are also many people finding relief from adjunctive therapies like acupuncture. It is advised to do this as a complement to traditional medical treatment. Before the onset of arthritis, it is best to keep a healthy lifestyle, exercise to strengthen the muscles around the joints, increase flexibility, and burn the extra body weight that puts you at greater risk of osteoarthritis.
The Japanese people is well known to have the greatest longevity circles in the world and has the world’s largest number of centenarians- 50 out of 100,000 people (in Okinawa, Japan) are over 100 years old. Many attribute their long life expectancy to the Japanese diet. What’s more, Japanese women reportedly have the lowest percentage of obesity (only 2.9%) in the world.
The Japanese diet, particularly in Okinawa, is low in saturated fat and calories and high in sea foods, seaweed, fruits, and vegetables. This is due to the widely practiced cultural tradition of hara hachi bu (eat until you are only 80% full). Okinawa, Japan also reports 80% lower incidence of cancers like breast and prostate, compared to most developed countries including the US. There is also low incidence of heart disease, stroke, and the average body mass index or BMI (an estimate of an individual’s relative body fat calculated from his height and weight) is 18 to 22, with low body fat levels. It is also reported that Okinawans have a reduced risk of inflammation and autoimmune disease, which are the main cause of aging.
Based on the Okinawan experience, the aging process can be controlled best by watching those calories and concentrating on wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables are the main focus of the Okinawan meal and the more brightly colored they are, the better. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of of bioflavonoids and other antioxidants known to help neutralize free radicals. Moderate food serving sizes of quality over quantity is advised and eating slowly so as to savor the flavors of the food are recommended. The Japanese diet, alongside a healthy lifestyle will definitely help us increase our chances of living longer.
Aging is said to arise when free radicals (substances formed in the course of normal biochemical processes) accumulate in the body, damaging our tissues and DNA. This damage brings about chronic inflammation and irreversible DNA damage, which eventually lead to age-related conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
While a person’s genes naturally affect life expectancy, health specialists estimate that they account for only about 30% of the difference in longevity rates. Diet, lifestyle, improved health care, and other factors are believed to play a more telling role. Studies show that we can now take steps to slow down aging. A study of overweight people found that those who reduced their calorie intake by 25% for 6 months recorded lower fasting insulin levels and lower body core temperature, both of which are markers of longevity. Here are some tips to slow down aging to live longer life:
Have a meaningful physical activity. Staying active keeps body fat levels down and activates the brain. Studies show that those who are active tended to retain their cognitive function better and longer than those who are sedentary.
Eat right. Loads of fruits and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants and bioflavonoids known to help neutralize free radicals. Stick to moderate serving sizes and offset your calorie intake by being active.
De-stress. Take time to relax, it maybe meditation, yoga, religion, a cup of tea, or a simple walk in the garden.
Sleep well. Lack of slee increases the risk of obesity and can affect metabolism and hormone production. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night.