In 1900, the average life expectancy of men was 42 years and of women 46 years. Today in Germany, men reach an average age of 74 and women an average age of 80 years. If life expectancy would keep rising in the same way in the 21st century, men would reach 130 and women 140 years. According to a Californian study, the age record in 2050 could be at 150 years. In the year 2050, the quota of people over 80 will amount to about 10%.
The Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment reached the age of 122 years and thus reached the highest known age of a person. When asked about the secret of her age, she replied modestly that the good Lord had just forgotten her.
In the 60s, there were about 500 people in Germany who celebrated their 100th birthday. In 2005, there were more than 5000 100-year-olds and 2 people who were over 110 years old. According to extrapolations, in the year 2025 there will be about 44,200 people living in Germany aged over 100 years.
Nearly three centuries ago, the Irish satirist Jonathan Swift said, "Everybody wants to live forever, but nobody wants to grow old." This reflects a point where probably everybody agrees: The decisive factors are not the years that we gain but the physical and mental health. "It’s easy to grow old. It is an art to endure it," said Goethe. Humanity’s dream is becoming old without aging.
Now gene therapy is the magic word in modern medical research and it seems that again science progresses much faster than man’s moral competence. With a genetic analysis it will be possible in the future, to tell young people which diseases they will be suffering in old age. Do we want to know that? Anyway, we still do not know the genes that make us age.
To date, there is no consistent, unchallenged theory about why we are aging. In one point, however, many of the approaches are consistent. The damage of the cells by so-called free radicals plays a central role in aging. This is mainly due to unstable oxygen molecules (= oxidative stress).
What can we ourselves do and what can naturopathy provide, so that the dream of healthy aging can be fulfilled? Here are a few tips:
- People who like feasting will not like to hear this, but the alpha and omega of life extension is to eat small portions combined with abundant supply of active ingredients (vitamins, trace elements). This is one of the surest ways to live a healthy old age. Fewer calories prolong life in mammals and man by up to 30%.
- Try to do sports preferably 2 to 3 times a week. Everything the body doesn’t need it will throw out. So if we don’t use our muscles and joints, we lose strength and agility.
- Drink as much clear water without gas as possible (about 2 liters). Lots of fluids are extremely important for the circulation of the brain, for the kidneys and the skin. Clear water is also one of the best detoxifying agents of nature.
- Even if we live very healthily: Over the years toxins are accumulating in our body and are stored mainly in adipose tissue. Here soothing detoxification measures will help, which can detoxify the organism both through the skin, the intestine and the kidneys. But our central detoxifying organ is the liver, which can be supported by simple herbal remedies.
- Get plenty of sleep and avoid stress.
- The principle, that we should always keep active also applies to our mental faculties. For our brain power, herbal substances such as ginseng, ginkgo and lecithin are helpful.
- Sometimes the medication can also make us sick. Many medicaments can be reduced or even dropped. This decision, however, should always be made by a doctor.
“One hundred is not enough”
Under this headline I found a publication on demographic trends. Every 10 years the number of 100-year olds doubled in the western industrialized countries. The United States expects that in the year 2050 around 800,000 of its inhabitants will have exceeded this number. If you, just like me, do not know what is meant by “Supercentenarians”, here is the answer: it refers to the group of men and women who are already above 110 years old. In the last 100 years life expectancy in the industrialized countries has doubled and continues to rise. It was not explained what consequences this development will have for the individual or for society.
One of the strongest growth sectors in medicine is now concerned with "anti-aging", with measures and means to slow down the aging process. Soon a separate course of studies may be needed to select from the multitude of offers what is beneficial for the customers and what will only make the manufacturers rich.
But one thing is indisputable: Through checkups, an early detection of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension is possible, and the opportunity to be healthy until old age is significantly increased. All health insurance companies and other insurance companies support this policy and refund detailed checkups every two years. If you do not know when you did your last checkup or have never had a screening, please call on my receptionist, who will be happy to help you.