People are afraid of old age because it is usually associated with numerous diseases and withered appearance. Are these fears groundless? Director of the Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology Vladimir Khavinson, endocrinologist Vadim Chernogolovka and chief doctor of a Moscow dental clinic Elena Krasnova provided their comments to Medpulse.ru.
What are some popular aging-related myths today?
Myth 1. You cannot slow down aging
You can, and without plastic surgery.
Spend less time in the sun (it adds wrinkles), give up smoking, and drink a glass of red wine every day for dinner as it positively affects the state of our cardiovascular system.
Myth 2. Women age earlier than men
This is true because men's skin is thicker than women’s; it is oilier and contains more collagen, which enhances elasticity. Therefore, our advice for women is to use collagen-based lotions and eat fewer sweets. But in general, if women take good care of themselves they may look a lot better men of the same age.
Myth 3. All old people have gray hair
Not necessarily. You probably met enough older people who have just a few gray hairs on their heads. Gray hair occurs because our bodies begin to produce less pigment with age due to the lack of vitamins B, copper, or the amino acid tyrosine. All these vitamins and minerals can be purchased in a drug store. In addition, gray hair is greatly affected by your genes. Some people have their first gray hair at a very young age while others have pitch black hair at 60.
Myth 4. With age, your teeth will fall out
Not true. "In the first place, we lose teeth because of gum disease,” says the chief doctor of a dental clinic Elena Krasnov. “But we can fully control the situation by simply brushing our teeth and regularly visiting the dentist". Elena recommends visiting the dentist at least once a year if there are no problems with the gums, and every six months, if they exist.
Myth 5. As we age, we shrink
This, oddly enough, is true. By the age of 70, our height may be reduced by approximately 2 to 4 inches. This happens because of “subsidence” of the spine and reduction of bone density.
To prevent it, it is recommended to mind the posture, exercise the spine, as well as consume more calcium and vitamin D as they will strengthen bone tissue.
Myth 6. The less you eat, the longer you will live
This means that you should reduce the number of calories in the diet. Endocrinologist Vadim Chernogolovka argues that people suffering from obesity live on average 8-12 years less than those with normal weight. Reducing calorie intake by a quarter reduces the amount of insulin produced by our body which accelerates aging. According to Dr. Chornoholova, our daily food norm should be no more than 1500-1800 kcal.
Myth 7. Stress shortens life
This is undoubtedly true, since stress is of a biochemical nature and reduces your body's ability to resist aggressive environmental influences, which noticeably accelerates the process of aging.
It is recommended to blow off steam. For example, do not suppress your sadness, and discuss your problems with your partner or, in the worst case, with a psychotherapist. There are also many ways to relax, and you can try to find an anti-stress complex that works for you. Then the impact of stressors will be reduced.
Myth 8. Old body is not able to function properly
Of course, our bodies eventually wear out due to various stresses and aggressive environment; this is the cause of aging.
However, you can reduce the degree of wear by regularly taking care of your health. Do not wait until you fall ill and have to go to a doctor. Start eating well today. For example, stop eating fried foods because they contain carcinogens and free radicals, which, as we know, are bad for the body at the cellular level.
It is also desirable that you exercise. If you follow these recommendations, you will not fall apart with age.
Myth 9. It is not realistic to live to the age of 100
Not at all. Director of the Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology, Vladimir Khavinson said: “The average life expectancy may be quite possibly increased to 120 years with the help of gene therapy, cosmetic surgery and replacement of worn-out parts of the body. Experiments are being conducted now.”