Is aging a disease that needs medical treatment?

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I have often told patients humorously; I walk into the bathroom in the morning and look up and say "who that old guy is and what he is doing in my bathroom?"  For the record, I am 63. For many who are in their '60s and up, visiting the doctor is what we do to make sure we are healthy.  We get our blood taken, follow the suggestions and in many cases, we are advised about things such as blood pressure, and cholesterol and we may be given medication to manage it rather than figure out why these numbers were off.  The funny thing about numbers is that they are one size fits all yet, genetically, we may be perfectly healthy until we take a medication that we have a side effect from which has to be managed. As we age, there are more diseases, pills, physical maladies, and even cancers that may be discovered.  Some of these may require specialists while others are just part of our profile as we age.   In our later years, many people move to areas like Florida where part of the activity is visiting doctors, visiting hospitals, and having numerous specialists manage our aged bodies. Many of these interventions are a result of the medications and different doctors in the mix all managing our aging process as if it were the illness, yet few of them actually understand us while we age.   Medicine treats aging as a disease or series of diseases and then often scares us half to death trying to rule out whether we are truly ill. As some doctors have said over the years, in an older person, you are always going to find something whether it is arthritis, benign growths, or blood pressure problems among the most common things that are treated. Medicine has figured out how to make us live longer but not necessarily healthier lives.  Managing the disease called aging is big business, especially in Florida where my mom lives. I often wonder if the management of our problems earlier in life instead of functionally understanding and treating the cause of the symptom such as blood pressure or cholesterol is driving the need for constant medical management in our later years. As we age, medical procedures are riskier and over the age of 90, do any of us really need our doctors to do stuff for us to live longer when our quality of life is suffering from 30 or so years of "management" instead of problem-solving? From a chiropractic perspective, most knee, hip, and other joint replacements are prevented by earlier interventions to improve the way we move.  Better mobility is synonymous with a better quality of life, better fitness, and less chronic pain. Unfortunately, Medicare still is not fully covering chiropractic and many seniors are not being referred by their primary doctors when appropriate. The MIT Technological review debated and discussed the diseasification of aging in their recent article.  Check it out below

The debate over whether aging is a disease rages on

In its latest catalogue of health conditions, the World Health Organization almost equated old age with disease. Then it backed off. By Sarah Sloatarchive page Last year, over Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, Kiran Rabheru eagerly joined a call with officials from the World Health Organization (WHO). Word had spread of a change coming to the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD), a catalogue used to standardize disease diagnosis worldwide. In an upcoming revision, the plan was to replace the diagnosis of “senility,” a term considered outdated, with something more expansive: “old age.” The new phrasing would be filed under a diagnostic category containing “symptoms, signs, or clinical findings.” Crucially, the code associated with the diagnosis—a designation that is needed to register new drugs and therapies—included the word “pathological,” which could have been interpreted as suggesting that old age is a disease in itself. Some researchers looked forward to the revision, seeing it as part of the path toward creating and distributing anti-­aging therapies. But Rabheru, a professor at the University of Ottawa and a geriatric psychiatrist at the Ottawa Hospital, feared that these changes would only further ageism. If age alone were presumed to be a disease, that could lead to inadequate care from physicians, he says. Rather than pinpoint exactly what’s troubling a patient, a problem could simply be dismissed as a consequence of advanced years. Read more