We want to live 100 years or, put to ask, some more. But we want to do it by enjoying a healthy longevity that does not make us hostages to chronic diseases, ailments, etc. The challenge has its crumb, but Carlos Gutiérrez, medical director of the anti-aging center Actiage, is convinced that, as things stand, "we can gain enough years of healthy life that we need to continue taking advantage of the advances that science is making in this field, which are spectacular."
Today, he says, we already have "a battery of resources that allow us to delay aging and optimize our long-term health" and, sooner than we imagine, "we will have the precise tools to reverse it." And what do we do (if we really want to live 100 years) while those advances arrive? Gutierrez explains.
It has always been said that, from a certain age, you have to start taking care of yourself, but what is that 'certain age'? The 40 years. From that moment, the changes that aging causes in our body begin to become more visible, not only externally, such as gray hair or wrinkles, but also internally. The slowdown of metabolism, hormonal changes, oxidative stress, etc. cause our health to be affected and we have more risk of developing certain diseases. Therefore, we must pay special attention to certain very specific areas.What areas are we talking about? First, cardiovascular health. From the age of 40, the risk of heart disease increases. Therefore, we must get regular checkups to control blood pressure, cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise to avoid the development of these diseases. As I pointed out before, metabolism tends to slow down with age, which can lead to weight gain, more pronounced in women after menopause. And excess weight increases, in turn, the risk of suffering from certain diseases, so we must take care of our diet, reduce calorie consumption and exercise to avoid this weight gain and its consequences. In addition, bone density may decrease as bone exchange slows, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Therefore, you should consume more calcium and vitamin D and, if necessary, take supplements to prevent bone loss. Resistance exercises also help prevent osteoporosis. Eye health can also deteriorate with age and it is common to suffer presbyopia or eyestrain. It is advisable to have regular check-ups and, as soon as you notice a loss of vision, go to the ophthalmologist. As menopause approaches in women and testosterone production decreases in men, hormonal changes can arise that cause many symptoms, especially in women, also increasing the risk of certain diseases. It is essential to be well informed about these changes and about the treatments that can be used to avoid them, both hormonal and natural. Finally, sleep problems can increase with age, especially insomnia or frequent awakenings, but they can be avoided by maintaining good sleep hygiene and regular habits that help the circadian rhythm.Why what at 20 we eat like limes but do not gain weight and at 40 makes us gain weight until we drink water (that is to say)? As we get older, the metabolism slows down, that is, it burns more slowly the calories we eat, especially at rest. Therefore, if we continue with the same physical activity and eating the same amounts as when we were 20 years old, we will gain weight. Also, as we age, the production of sex and growth hormones decreases, increasing insulin resistance. These changes can affect how the body stores and burns fat, which can contribute to weight gain, as well as decrease muscle mass, further reducing basal metabolism. Muscle mass burns more calories at rest than fat, so its loss can contribute to weight gain. On the other hand, the usual thing is that, with 40 years, be less active than with 20 and spend less time on physical activities due to work and family commitments, which contributes to weight gain. In addition, stress, worries and anxiety can cause us to consume less healthy foods or have undesirable eating habits that also contribute to that weight gain. Therefore, in general, from the age of 40, we must reduce the calories we consume, increase physical activity and enhance muscle mass through a diet rich in protein and resistance exercises. The decline in energy levels, constant fatigue, and tiredness that some people experience starting in their 40s can be attributed to a combination of biological, hormonal, and lifestyle factors. Among the main causes we find, first, the slowdown of metabolism, which causes us to burn fewer calories at rest, increasing tiredness and fatigue since calories are a source of energy; hormonal changes, especially decreased sex hormones (estrogen in women and testosterone in men). These hormones play an important role in regulating energy and mood, so reducing them can cause physical and mental tiredness and fatigue. In addition, there are other key factors such as: loss of muscle mass, essential in energy production; insomnia and poor sleep quality; chronic stress or mental problems such as depression; or little physical activity, because, although it seems contradictory, it causes fatigue since staying active gives us energy. Regular physical exercise from the age of 40 is essential to combat the changes that occur from this age, such as weight gain, loss of muscle mass and bone mass, increased risk of certain diseases, fatigue ... But it is not enough to do any type of exercise. Moderate to high-intensity cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, swimming, biking, or running, is essential. The goal is to do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes ifintense per week. In addition, you have to combine these routines with other resistance to maintain muscle mass and strength. You can perform exercises with weights, training machines, resistance bands or your own body weight (calisthenics). You have to work all the main muscle groups between two and three times a week. It is important to note that strength exercise is essential for the prevention of all types of diseases since there is a very pronounced relationship between the maintenance of the muscles and all causes of mortality. Finally, change your workout routines regularly to avoid monotony and allow different muscle groups to become active. In addition, gradually increase the intensity and workload to avoid injuries and achieve greater effectiveness. In general, it is advisable to reduce calorie consumption. Eating about 200 fewer calories a day and reducing portions is a good practice. The keys to an adequate diet from this age start by prioritizing the consumption of fresh and natural foods, the mostwe processed possible. Include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, and healthy fats. Maintain adequate protein intake, which is essential for muscle health and recovery. Opt for lean sources of protein such as lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts, and low-fat dairy products. Make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D to maintain bone health. Dairy, fortified foods, and plant-based sources of calcium (such as green leafy vegetables and legumes) are good choices. Maintain a routine of regular, satiating meals to preserve stable energy levels and avoid excessive hunger. Include foods rich in antioxidants, such as colorful fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. And, of course, be well hydrated. Sometimes, it is also necessary to supplement (consult your doctor).What about rest? Is it no longer enough to sleep little? We didn't recover the same, did we? Sleep can undergo modifications as we age and many people notice differences in the quality and pattern of sleep from the age of 40. The most common changes are: increase in the number of nocturnal awakenings; tendency to wake up earlier in the morning; problems falling asleep and decreased quality of sleep. All this can make us feel more tired, irritable, have a hard time concentrating and increase the risk of developing serious diseases. The main causes of these changes in sleep patterns are: the decrease in melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle; hormonal changes; various medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and sleep-related disorders; stress and responsibilities or changes in routine. A good rest is essential for health, so we must try to maintain good sleep hygiene, go to bed every day at the same time and sleep between seven and eight hours a day. What adaptations should we introduce so that everything does not fall apart? The decrease in sex hormones, estrogen in women and testosterone in men, affects libido or sexual desire causing many people to see their desire for sex diminished from the age of 45. In addition, other problems related to sex may arise, such as vaginal dryness in women that causes dyspareunia or pain in penetrations, erection problems in men ... All this can cause both the frequency and quality of sexual relations to decrease, although this does not have to happen to all people. Moreover, some may notice how their sex life improves at this age by getting rid of fears and prejudices. However, for those who do experience problems in their sex life, the good news is that they all have a solution. There are natural supplements that increase libido, natural lubricants for vaginal dryness, hormonal treatments to balance hormones... Consult your doctor and continue to enjoy your sex life as it is essential for a healthier and happier life. What would be the 'basics'? Given the low varAs well as its growing nutritional poverty (less fertile soils, industrialization of agricultural production, etc.), nutritional supplements are sometimes necessary to ensure the minimum daily amounts necessary to avoid an imbalance in our body that can cause a long list of health problems, increasing the risk of many diseases. Among the basic nutritional supplements from the age of 40 we find, first of all, calcium and vitamin D, essential for bone health. However, it is preferable to obtain these nutrients through diet and sun exposure rather than relying exclusively on supplements, although sometimes it is not enough and it is necessary to resort to supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids, present in fatty fish such as salmon and some vegetable oils, have benefits for cardiovascular health and may help reduce inflammation. If you don't eat enough fatty fish, an omega-3 supplement might help. As we age, vitamin B12 absorption may decrease, which could lead to deficiencies. This vitamin is important for the health of the nervous system and the production of red blood cells. If you have a vegetarian or vegan diet, it's especially important to consider a vitamin B12 supplement. Vitamin B6, meanwhile, is necessary for many body functions, including metabolism. Magnesium is vital for many body functions, including bone and cardiovascular health, muscle function, and blood sugar regulation. Lastly, coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that aids energy production in cells and may have benefits for cardiovascular health and cognitive function, as well as skin health. In any case, before taking any supplement you should consult a doctor.Why do we 'conserve' today so much better than in previous generations? How does lifestyle and, of course, aesthetic advances influence? Think about what your parents were like when they were 50 or the pictures of your grandparents in their 40s, who looked like they were already 60. Currently, all those oft-heard phrases of "40 are the new 30" refer to a reality: people are preserved much better and their appearance seems, in many cases, much younger than their real age. This is due to several fundamental changes that have taken place in recent years. On the one hand, aesthetic advances have allowed us to slow down the appearance of external signs of aging such as wrinkles, spots, sagging skin or gray hair. Thanks to anti-wrinkle creams, botox injections, laser, chemical peels... We can have smooth and wrinkle-free skin after the age of 40. On the other hand, medical advances have allowed for better diagnosis and treatment of diseases, which has led to greater longevity and a better overall quality of life. Preventive medicine and early detection of diseases have improved significantly, allowing us to live longer and better. Health education has increased in recent decades, which has led to greater knowledge about the importance of disease prevention and the adoption of habits that favorl well-being. And that's another key: lifestyle changes. More and more people are aware of the importance of our lifestyle in our health and longevity, which has led them to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management and healthy habits in general, avoiding smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and other harmful behaviors. The importance of mental and emotional health has also been recognized and promoted. Attention to emotional well-being and finding ways to manage stress and anxiety can have a positive impact on overall health and help us live longer. All this allows us to really reach an advanced age looking much younger and feeling much better, which allows us to live longer and with a higher quality of life. It is a method designed to optimize long-term health, thus delaying the aging process by minimizing the appearance of preventable diseases associated with old age such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes 2, obesity, some cancers, some autoimmune diseases and a long etcetera. It is the fruit of the implementation of all the scientific advances that have occurred in the last 10 or 15 years in this field. To put it into practice, based on the analytical results and advanced diagnostic tests, sensors and the evaluation of each individual situation, the precise practices for each person are selected in order to turn them into a routine in a simple and fast way. With Lifestyle Medicine as the backbone of everyday life, four key factors are addressed: nutrition, physical movement, sleep and mental state.
- Articles Gema García Marcos