Very old and healthy secrets – when you’re young.
Fortunately, scientists are beginning to realize this, “the good news is that we can do a lot of things,” said Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, a geriatrician and scientific director of the national institute on aging. He wants to see more and more people in an “aging” state.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes old people strong, because my father just turned 95. On his birthday, he trimmed trees, walked, played some online singles, and had dinner with his family. We stayed up late and laughed a lot. Last week he used pencils, calculators and a bunch of irs forms to tax – the old-fashioned way.
Obviously, dad was in his favor; His father lived to be 94. But genes aren’t destiny, ferrucci said: “there are some fate, we are children of the genome, we inherit from their parents, but a lot of things we can do to avoid this kind of tend to us.”
The study found that genes were a factor in extreme longevity for about 20 percent of the time, but were healthy, while older genes were more likely to be popular in families. Clearly, these families must do the right thing.
To find out, the national institutes of health (nih) launched the IDEAL study in 2009, focusing on families who can delay or avoid those who are in their 80s or older.
They’ve got some physiological cues. Healthy older people are more likely to have lower resting metabolic rates, which means their bodies still work effectively, says Ferrucci. “They have the ability to stay and participate in other activities,” he said. “It allows them to do a lot of things in their daily lives.”
Lucky people also tend to have more typical fasting blood glucose levels in their 20s. Obesity and lack of exercise can increase the risk of insulin resistance, says Ferrucci, so controlling weight and staying active early in adulthood can help. For people with insulin resistance, metformin is also helpful. “As long as you realize it exists, you can do a lot of things to control insulin resistance.”
Other studies, including the landmark Baltimore longitudinal study, also found that participants’ attitudes toward the inevitable loss of aging were similar.
“Some of them think it’s going to get worse — your friends are dead, you’re sick, you can’t do anything you want, you can’t eat and drink what you like,” said Ferrucci. “But others think it’s not that bad.” And those who had a positive impact on aging at age 40 had significantly reduced cardiovascular disease in the future.
“How we work requires us to do more work,” says Ferrucci. “But clearly these people have found ways to act and think and communicate with the environment and other people who work for them.”
I don’t know what my father’s fasting blood-sugar level is, but I have to think that he’s still doing what he’s doing, and he’s doing a lot of work on his health. This and when I asked him how he did it, he said “great,” even though I knew it was a while.
My chat with Ferrucci made me realize that I should not rely on lucky genes to give me a free pass. He imagines that one day the science of ageing will become so good that young men and women will be given personalized prescriptions to reduce their risk. But now, I think it’s time to go out for a walk. That’s great.