A current of thought from the United States, the transhumanismconsiders that aging is not inevitable and aims to improve human beings, through science and biotechnology, to make them immortal.
“I prefer the concept of longevity,” retorts Professor Christophe de Jaeger, doctor and physiologist of longevity. It is not a question of changing men, but of giving them back all their functions. Living a long time without being in good health does not interest any of my patients! »
In the future, medicine may be able to repair aging organs. In the meantime, and in a much simpler way, everyone can take charge of their health.
The heart: a muscle to maintain
As we age, we lose muscle mass in favor of fat. A sedentary lifestyle and a diet that is too fatty accelerate this phenomenon and aggravate the cardiovascular consequences. Indeed, “the fatty tissue thickens the blood vessels”, says Professor Patrick Chérin, internist at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital (Paris).
Arterial hypertension also wears out the vessels by hitting their walls. As for stress, it increases the level of cortisol in the blood, which increases the heart rate and promotes hypertension. Over time, the hyperstressed vessels stiffen, which makes the bed of cardiovascular diseases. But, for Professor de Jaeger, “the real killer is the sugars! The sugar overload results after 15-20 years in a kind of caramelization of the organism. The blood vessels suffer from it, as Professor Chérin explains: “Too much fast-acting sugars accelerate the phenomenon of protein glycation, one of the essential mechanisms of aging. This phenomenon stiffens our cells, especially those of the arterial wall. »
Conversely, slow sugars (starch, pasta, etc.) are useful to the body. They provide him with energy and prevent cravings. To protect his cardiovascular system, there’s nothing like endurance physical activity, at the limit of shortness of breath without exceeding his maximum heart rate (220 – his age). “This figure is only an average, says Professor François Carré, cardiologist. To know your maximum heart rate, I advise, after a few weeks of training, to run while doing accelerations. When you can’t take it anymore, just track your heart rate. »
The lungs: a breath to work on
As we age, the alveoli lose their elasticity, a phenomenon aggravated by tobacco and air pollution. While it’s hard to fight poor air quality, it’s never too late to quit smoking. “Even at age 50, quitting smoking will allow you to regain your breath in two or three weeks. In two years, the cardiovascular risk will be down to the same level as a non-smoker”, assures Professor Gilbert Lagrue, tobacco specialist.
In parallel, you will have to put on your sports shoes. “Training will allow you to push back your breathlessness threshold,” reassures Professor Carré. For this, he recommends alternating sequences of walking and running. “You start off trotting. As soon as you are out of breath, you continue walking. Then you start running again and so on. »
Another enemy to watch out for: osteoporosis. This progressive demineralization of the bones causes vertebral compression. The back arches and “this kyphosis prevents the lungs from breathing well”, underlines Professor Chérin. In prevention: calcium, vitamin D and adapted physical exercise.
The liver: a poison control center for detoxification
The role of the liver is to detoxify the body. So do not overload your liver with a diet that is too fatty and too sweet. This organ is also very sensitive to alcohol above a certain dose. “It is better not to exceed two glasses of alcohol per day, otherwise there will be an impact on the liver,” advises Professor Chérin.
Some medications can also disrupt liver metabolism. It is better to limit yourself to essential products and carefully weigh the benefit/risk ratio, especially in the elderly.
The kidneys: a purifying role to eliminate
The kidneys filter waste from the body. To perform this function, the kidneys need water. “However, the feeling of thirst begins to decrease from the age of 30-40, a phenomenon which is accentuated after the age of 65”, says Professor de Jaeger.
To avoid dehydration, it is advisable to drink 1.5 liters of water a day. “There is no need to drink a lot more as you get older,” says Professor Chérin. It is possible to assess the good health of your kidneys by carrying out a blood test for creatinine, a reflection of their filtration rate.
Too high a level reveals their difficulty in eliminating badly degraded proteins in the muscles.
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