An ageing population


Facts about ageing

Ageing is a highly complex biological process resulting in the progressive loss of the ability of organs and cells to maintain biochemical function, eventually leading to age associated diseases and death.

As a result of improved nutrition and medical care we are all living longer than ever before. The socioeconomic impact on society of the growing ageing population is an area of growing research and debate.

Here are some ageing facts:

• one person in five is 60 or older
• The majority of older people are women – 55%
• Most live in urban areas
• Over the last half century 20 years have been added to the average lifespan bringing the average global life expectancy to 66 years
• The impact of population ageing is revealed in the old-age dependency ratio, the number of working age persons (15-64 years) per older person (65 and above) – this ratio will double in developed countries and triple in the less developed by 2050.
• A child born in 1997 will expect to live 29 years longer than one born in 1900
•In the West men who reach 65 can expect to live an additional 16 years and women 18 years
•100 years ago 1% of the world’s population was aged over 65 whereas today 13% of the world’s population is over 65
•In 2005 approximately 20% of the world’s population is over 65 and by 2050 it will be 30%
•The total world population is growing at 1.7% pa but the population over 65 is growing at 2.5% pa
•Between 1998 and 20025 the number of people over the age of 65 will grow by 200% and those over 85 by 400%
• Life expectancy in Ancient Rome was 22 and in the Middle Ages 35
• Many individuals live to 115 today
•In the UK were life expectancy is 80.5 (women) and 75.8 years (men) 1 in 5 people are aged over 65.
• In Australia the proportion of those aged over 65 has risen from 4% to 12% in the last 100 years
• Life expectancy in Japan – 85.23 years for women and 78.32 for men in 2002 – is the longest in the world. The explanation, experts say, is partly the traditional Japanese diet, which is low in fatty foods

Anti-ageing medicine

As we increase in age we become more vulnerable to disease and other illnesses. The main diseases of ageing are degenerative conditions which account for 90% of all medical treatment needed in old age. Genetic and infectious diseases and accidents account for only 10% of illnesses suffered.

As a result of the huge spurt in longevity by those of us living in the 20th century and the potential economic burden of age-related illness, anti-ageing medicine is gaining an increasing prominence and pioneering research to discover the cause/s of the degenerative diseases of ageing. Th early detection, preventation and even reversal of age-related diseases would alleviate many of the burdens of the growing ageing population not just in health care costs but in improved quality of life.

Scientists have many theories on what precisely happens in the molecular process of ageing. Among the factors being examined are: the influence of genetic programming, the function of the neuro, endocrine and immune systems, molecular instability and free radical damage. The main degenerative diseases of ageing are diseases of the heart and vascular system, diabetes and stroke. These conditions on average begin at about the age of 50 – the age of life expectancy at the turn of the century. The onset of these diseases, is acerbated or provoked by unhealthy lifestyles – poor diet, smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol, taking too little exercise and stress. Which is why we can all live longer, happier and healthier lifestyles by taking action to improve our lifestyles in these areas.

Science also has its part of play. It is belived that as we age the energy producing parts of our cells, known as mitochondria, become defective and these defects increase with age. The mitochondria produce our body fuel ATP and it is the loss of this vital energy that leads DNA mutations and then to disease The supplement Coenzyme Q10 has been shown to play a positive in role in preventing some of this damage, particularly in relation to heart disease, by re-energising cells.

There are also a number of other key anti-ageing therapies/nutrients, explained in greater detail within ElixirNews (Elixirs), that can improve your chances of living a longer, healthier and happier life. These include Human Growth Hormone, DHEA, Melatonin, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Cysteine and Procysteine, NADH, Lycopene, Vitamin E, Vitamin B5 (Pantothetnic Acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), Synthetic Antioxidents, Selenium, DMAE, Vinpocetin, Chromium Picolinate, Pregnenolone, Testosterone and Estrogen and Progesterone. Some doctors also recommend calorie restriction as a way of extending life.

Everyday scientists are making new discoveries about how and why we age and how we can slow and treat its affects – these discoveries include developments such as stem cells and other medical technologies.

In anti-ageing medicine the use of nutrition, hormones and even some drugs have been proven to assist and even prevent the apperance of serious diseases such as as arthritis, Alzheimer’s, cataracts and diabetes. Ultimately we are all responsible for our own quality of life. Living longer, healthier and happier lives is really in our own hands.