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Anti-ageing medicine and wellness tips

Oct 28. 2019
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By The Nation
Thonburi Healthcare Group.

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Welcome to the Health Talk programme with Dr Tanatip of Thonburi Healthcare Group. The programme is online every Monday at 8 am on the websites of Nation Thailand and Bangkokbiznews. We discuss the latest healthcare trends in Thailand and other Asian countries.

Today, we’ll talk about anti-ageing medicine and wellness tips. Dr Tanatip, wellness has become a buzzword over the last decade, but I think I will focus on the quality of life (as you get older) rather than other aspects of the wellness definition. For instance, many people have the difficulty to touch their upper back with one of their hands when they are getting old.

 

Maybe a trivial thing for some, but this problem is not ordinary, especially when you occasionally have an itchy back. When you are younger you could touch and or scratch your upper back with ease. That’s not possible any longer due to the tightening shoulder muscles. But there is a solution to this problem. Senior citizens may need a physical therapist’s session over a period of six months or one year to loosen the muscles. In other words, wellness in this context is to extend the quality of life as you age.

 

Other issues faced by the ageing population include increased tiredness. You used to get upstairs a couple of floors with ease, then it’s no longer the case. Then there’s the generational factor. Your parents’ generation, those who are now in their late 70s or 80s, have a different frame of reference when it comes to the definition of wellness. Based on my clinical experience, they prefer to be left alone.

 

Then, there are those baby boomers aged from 55 to 70. They are well educated with a lot of savings and financial resources so they want to maintain the quality of life after retirement. They want to travel the world in good shape, even on their own, or can still drive with ease for 3-4 hours for a domestic holiday trip without having to depend on their children.

 

 

If the baby boomers want to achieve this goal, when they need to start the preparation? In my opinion, they may start as early as 35 or 40 years old. For females, there is also the child-bearing factor affecting their hormones, weight control and physical exercise. For males, many have had alcoholic drinks or smoked when they are younger so it’s time for more discipline.

 

Those who stop drinking and smoking when they reach 40, they may expect a big improvement in the general health. If they don’t, they will likely face a significant health issue in advanced age. So a decent lifestyle is a big deal post-40-years of age. It’s the turning point for you to start the anti-ageing effort before it’s too late.

 

What’s about diet? Yes, it’s another key factor and there have been many bad guys when it comes to food. However, the good guys in terms of food definitely include fresh fruits vegetables. Citrus and turmeric powders (in some Thai curries and other dishes) are among those backed by research which shows they have health-beneficial properties. They can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, for example.

 

On the other hand, sugary and salty foods are bad for health, with people in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, among heavy consumers of sweet and salty food. For oily and fatty food, it’s not yet a big problem in Thailand, but it may be a more obvious problem for Indian and Middle Eastern people.

 

Red meat and highly processed meat products are not good either so are liquid oil turned into artificial butter and other processed stuffs. However, there are both good and bad fats and oils so we have to differentiate.

More importantly, many Thai and Southeast Asian people have consumed too much starch and carbohydrates. (Due to the improved economic well-being and less manual work,) over-consumption leads to more bad fats and cholesterols, which can cause heart disease, stroke and diabetes etc.

 

There is an old saying that the less you eat the longer you may live. You can also use the body mass index (BMI) or a simple formula that you minus your height with 100 for male and with 110 for female. I am 182 cm tall so my ideal weight is 82 kg. I am currently 3 kg overweight. A proper ratio of height to  weight has a direct correlation to good health, especially as you age.

 

After diet, the next key factor for good health is physical exercise, especially when you’re 40 or older. Yes, it’s necessary to exercise at least every other day. You may start with the aerobic workout which is good for your heart and physical flexibility as well as balance. You should do aerobic for at least half an hour with a peak performance after 15 minutes, then slow and cool down. For me at 53, my heart rate should reach 130-140 beats per minute while doing the aerobic exercise to prevent an overloading. Good balance is also essential since it helps prevent injuries in old age.

In terms of the anti-aging medicine, what is the latest development? Dr Tanatip, there are now many new screening methods such as those to measure your cognitive capacity for the probability of Alzheimer’s disease. Or the genome tests for genetic probabilities of some diseases. However, only 180 genes are known in relation to some diseases so there is a limit at this stage.

 

The datasets are expanding with more people around the world taking more tests to help artificial intelligence (AI) software improve the capability to diagnose with predictive analytics. We can expect more accuracy in this technology over the next decade.

In anti-aging medicine, I also like to talk about the psychological factor or attitudes. When I see my patients, I often say there are two major groups of senior citizens, the active ones and the lazy ones. For example, my father in his 80s is still very active and he drives to see doctors twice a week by himself, one trip for the eye doctor another for prostate treatment. He follows the doctors’ instructions strictly.

 

On the other hand, my mother is in the opposite camp as she likes to lie down the whole day watching TV. She only gets up for meals and prefers a sedentary lifestyle. So we need to approach the two groups differently from the psychological perspective. In general, both groups, including the active group,  should not over-do and the middle way is probably better.

Regarding the Generation Y who are 40 or younger, they appear to be more in control of their lifestyle and forecasts show that this generation’s life expectancy will likely reach 100. Generation X or those who are now over 50 may live until 90. However, Gen Y are more health-conscious and better at diet management.

Overall, anti-aging medicine has become more tailor-made with specific targets and behavior therapies plus vitamins, supplements and lifestyle changes etc. For those who are 40 you should start to look after yourself.

 

Time is up for the Health Talk programme. Good Bye.  Episode 7--Anti-ageing medicine and wellness tips

 

Welcome to the Health Talk programme with Dr Tanatip of Thonburi Healthcare Group. The programme is online every Monday at 8 am on the websites of Nation Thailand and Bangkokbiznews. We discuss the latest healthcare trends in Thailand and other Asian countries.

 

Today, we’ll talk about anti-ageing medicine and wellness tips. Dr Tanatip, wellness has become a buzzword over the last decade, but I think I will focus on the quality of life (as you get older) rather than other aspects of the wellness definition. For instance, many people have the difficulty to touch their upper back with one of their hands when they are getting old.

 

Maybe a trivial thing for some, but this problem is not ordinary, especially when you occasionally have an itchy back. When you are younger you could touch and or scratch your upper back with ease. That’s not possible any longer due to the tightening shoulder muscles. But there is a solution to this problem. Senior citizens may need a physical therapist’s session over a period of six months or one year to loosen the muscles. In other words, wellness in this context is to extend the quality of life as you age.

 

Other issues faced by the ageing population include increased tiredness. You used to get upstairs a couple of floors with ease, then it’s no longer the case. Then there’s the generational factor. Your parents’ generation, those who are now in their late 70s or 80s, have a different frame of reference when it comes to the definition of wellness. Based on my clinical experience, they prefer to be left alone.

 

Then, there are those baby boomers aged from 55 to 70. They are well educated with a lot of savings and financial resources so they want to maintain the quality of life after retirement. They want to travel the world in good shape, even on their own, or can still drive with ease for 3-4 hours for a domestic holiday trip without having to depend on their children.

 

 

If the baby boomers want to achieve this goal, when they need to start the preparation? In my opinion, they may start as early as 35 or 40 years old. For females, there is also the child-bearing factor affecting their hormones, weight control and physical exercise. For males, many have had alcoholic drinks or smoked when they are younger so it’s time for more discipline.

 

Those who stop drinking and smoking when they reach 40, they may expect a big improvement in the general health. If they don’t, they will likely face a significant health issue in advanced age. So a decent lifestyle is a big deal post-40-years of age. It’s the turning point for you to start the anti-ageing effort before it’s too late.

 

What’s about diet? Yes, it’s another key factor and there have been many bad guys when it comes to food. However, the good guys in terms of food definitely include fresh fruits vegetables. Citrus and turmeric powders (in some Thai curries and other dishes) are among those backed by research which shows they have health-beneficial properties. They can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, for example.

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