How To Prevent Age-Related Disease
How To Prevent Age-Related Disease
Edward Schneider (MD, Senior Advisor, Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging) gives expert video advice on: What's one good way to avoid heart disease?; How important is nutrition in preventing diseases associated with aging?; How important is sleep in preventing diseases associated with aging? and more...
What's one good way to avoid heart disease?
There's one simple way to prevent heart disease, and that is by keeping your teeth in good condition. There's more and more evidence that indicates that periodontal disease, disease around your teeth, can in fact lead to serious heart disease. Flossing and keeping your teeth in good shape is a wonderful way to prevent heart disease.
How important is nutrition in preventing diseases associated with aging?
About 50% to 60% of all the serious diseases with aging can be prevented by good nutrition and exercise. I'm talking about heart disease and diabetes and many, many cancers.
How important is sleep in preventing diseases associated with aging?
Sleep is very, very important in preventing disease associated with aging. Most people don't get a good night's sleep. As you get older you - one, wake up more frequently during the night. Two, have a hard time getting back to sleep, and you have a hard time falling sleep in the first place. So you spend more time in bed and you get less sleep. It's much more fragmented with aging. And you don't get that deep sleep, that deep, deep sleep.
How does sleep affect aging?
With aging, you have a hard time falling asleep. You wake up more frequently, and it's harder getting back to sleep. You spend more time in bed and get less sleeping which can cause devastating problems as you get older. You can be more accident prone, you can get depressed, and it can also affect your immune system.
How important is weight control in preventing age-related disease?
Being obese really will shorten your lifespan, seriously shorten your lifespan. Being overweight will increase your risk of heart disease, of diabetes, of high blood pressure, having bad arthritis; there are lots of conditions associated with increased weight. I think it's important to maintain the right weight but the other aspect is being too thin, which can also cause problems in old age. In fact it might be great if you're a model and you have a BMI, which is body mass index of 20 when you're modelling but you're going to be at serious risk when you get older. In fact people who are average to five percent overweight actually do better than people who are underweight at their age.
How effective is alpha hydroxy acid skin cream in keeping skin younger-looking?
Alpha Hydroxyl acids appear to have some affect of slowing down aging of the skin. It's not a miracle cure but there appears to be some success with alpha hydroxyl creams. That is one of the things, Retin A, of course does work to some degree but some people get great redness of the skin with it and can't take Retin A. But those are two things that have been used to slow down aging of the skin. Botox can help reduce some of the wrinkles but injections have to be taken every six months.
What are the best ways to prevent cardiovascular disease?
If you are a citizen of a developed country, you get cardiovascular disease because most of you don't exercise. So, exercise is critical to prevent arteriosclerosis. Your diet is the Western diet, full of the wrong kinds of fats. Not getting enough of the fibre and the fruits and vegetables that you really need to prevent arteriosclerosis. For example, in Western society, we eat lots and lots of polysaturated fats. These are the things with butter and steaks and cream and cheese - these are very bad for you. You have lots of trans fats - that's all your fast food places. What we don't have are the fats that are good for you. These are the mono unsaturated fats and the polyunsaturated fats. These are vegetable oils and olive oil and canola oil. They're wonderful for you. There's one fat that's terrific, that's best of all - it's your fish oils. Fish oils help prevent heart disease. The other thing that can prevent heart disease are fruits and vegetables. Lots of fibre. These are things in your diet that can help prevent heart disease.
What can I do to prevent age-related memory loss?
In the MacArthur Foundation study of successful aging, we followed people from age 70 to 80. We followed about a thousand people, successful agers. We looked at what was the one factor that helped prevent memory loss, and cognitive dysfunction. And it was aerobic exercise. So the best way you can avoid losing your memory and your brain is by exercising.
Will staying mentally active help prevent memory loss?
There are very many advertisements right now for games that will help to improve your brain power and maintain your brain power. But we have very little evidence that they work. It's certainly not going to be bad for you. So I recommend this to people to try these brain games - these brain empowerment games, and to do memory exercises. I think there's no harm in it at all, and it may help. But the best thing, again, is aerobic exercise.
Will supplements help me avoid arthritis?
There are probably about forty different supplements that are offered to prevent arthritis on the marketplace. The only ones that may be beneficial are chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine sulphate, but I wouldn't take it if you don't have arthritis. They work most effectively for pain of the knee and knee arthritis, so I would only take glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate for arthritis of the knee.
Which environmental factors contribute to osteoporosis?
Smoking, carbonated beverages, and caffeine are things that increase your risk of osteoporosis.