In the 13th Century, the philosopher Roger Bacon (c.1214-1294) believed that the secret to a long and healthy life was depending on the following: exercise, good hygiene, inhaling the breath of a young virgin, a healthy diet, and proper rest. To be able to live to the age of eighty in the 13th century was quite an impressive achievement, when you consider that there was poor sanitation, there were no antibiotics, and no medical care. |
Going up in time to the year 2004, the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a large study that showed healthy seventy- to ninety year old people who adopted the Mediterranean diet, used alcohol in moderation , took physical activity, and a nonsmoking lifestyle had a 50% decrease in the rate of death. These results are not far off from what Roger Bacon stated more than seven hundred years earlier, with the exception, of course, of inhaling the breath of a young virgin. These days, research has included some more factors that showed to increase your changes of living a long live. These include: Good genetics. People who's parents lived to an old age should have more change of also living a long life. The specific genes involved in the human aging process are still unknown.
Increased lipoprotein size and increased HDL cholesterol levels in your blood. There is some evidence that components of your cholesterol may be protective factors for heart disease and stroke, usually seen by people who live to be one hundred. Being lucky! Not being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We all know of people who have been in a bad car accident or were the victim of a violent crime. Others have rare and unexplained illnesses.
Proper preventive medical care. What is preventive medicine? Taking proper steps to avoid the development of illnesses is important, also the early diagnosis of illness. That is why prevention can take several forms. It can involve removing one or more risk factors that can lead to the development of a disease. To quite smoking, for example, may help in preventing a heart attack or stroke. Trying to identify a disease at an early stage before it gets to a serious illness or death. For example, a colonoscopy attempt to identify and remove small polyps in the colon before they turn into colon cancer. Keeping a close watch on people who have already an illness. Women who have had breast cancer in the past have a much higher risk to develop further breast cancer and will need closer monitoring. Does proper preventive screening for an elderly patient exist? There are no clear guidelines for the proper screening of an elderly person. Part of the confusion is that there are so many variables among the elderly. Many of the medical specialty societies don't agree as to which tests are suitable to order for elderly patients. This is another problem. Is a yearly physical exam useful? We are used to the idea that a physical exam every year is an essential factor to assure that we stay healthy. There are different ideas of what should be included in this exam. Most doctors believe that it should involve a full discussion of all health care issues, a full head to-toe examination, and lab work. The truth is that it has not been proven that this standard format has any benefit for detecting new, potentially life- threatening diseases. It is however an opportunity to discuss exercises and to make sure the patient is up to date on his or her immunizations and cancer screening. Research has shown that yearly ordered test in otherwise healthy seniors are often not beneficial. These tests include: chest x-ray complete blood cell count (CBC) blood chemistry panel electrocardiogram (EKG) On the surface, these tests seems to be useful. But in practice, ordering these tests as a routine each year will rarely identify any new diseases.
This article is taken out of my latest book: "Recipe for a Long, Healthy Life" and can be ordered from: www.Xlibris.com.au
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