The 21st century has brought the promise of many exciting developments in medical science and anti-aging medicine is among the most eagerly awaited. The talk of revolutionary anti-aging drugs, promising results in clinical trials of some of these medication and headway in the fields of genetics and stem cell research has given hope to many who are concerned about getting older.
But is this what anti-aging medicine entirely about? Slowing or reversing the natural aging process? There is much more to anti-aging medicine than what the average person thinks about the field. Sometimes it is associated with quackery. In this day and age, anti-aging medicine is largely based on scientific principles with an ever growing body of clinical evidence to support findings.
As exciting as this is, it has not removed the fundamental principles of living a long and good quality life that has been known for decades – healthy diet, healthy lifestyle, healthy mind and healthy body.
Anti-aging medicine today is a medical specialty aimed at using latest scientific practices in detecting, diagnosing, preventing, treating and where possible even reversing age-related dysfunction and disease.
The goal of anti-aging medicine is to improve the quality of life of a person in the senior years and moderately increase the human lifespan through disease prevention and treatment. It also aims at making a person more productive in life for longer periods where most of us are hampered by the age-related changes and diseases in the latter years.
Aging brings about changes in the body that makes it more prone to disease. It is this disease that reduces the quality of life and leads to death. Even ‘natural death’ as it is sometimes termed is a consequence of disease which may be undetected or at least a point where the body’s regenerative abilities have been totally exhausted that it cannot survive normal wear and tear.
The ultimate focus of anti-aging medicine is to slow down the natural aging process. This delays the onset of age-related illnesses which in this day and age can also be effectively prevented or treated in the early stages thereby minimizing its impact. Slowing the aging process and hence increasing the lifespan is gradually becoming a reality with advancements in stem cell research, genetics and pharmaceuticals.
This means that the body’s cells can live longer, withstand greater wear and tear, regenerate more effectively and even replicate for longer periods of time in life than is the norm. Ultimately this all contributes to a longer lifespan.
As yet the focus on anti-aging medicine is not so much on reversing the aging process as it is on slowing down aging. In other words, the body cannot be made younger although stem cell therapy and genetics holds some promise in these areas to some extent.
For the seniors, anti-aging medicine should focus on the early detection, prevention and treatment of age-related diseases which is the main cause of poor quality of life in the senior years and ultimately death.
Even for younger individuals, anti-aging medicine may not offer the prospect of reversing age but rather slowing down aging from the time any such treatment is initiated. The earlier in life such treatment is commenced, possibly the longer the lifespan.
While some diseases can be reversed both in the young and old, this does not usually mean that age can be reversed. Cosmetic surgery may be able to make a person look younger, stem cell treatment may help tissues increase their regenerative capacity and various procedures and drugs can undo the damage of certain diseases. However, this should not be mistaken for reversing the aging process throughout the entire body.