Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS March 24, 2016
Getting older is just a numbers thing. Chronological age is just a way of telling how many years are behind you. Obviously, bodily changes occur with normal aging. Changes occur in our physical and mental abilities. That is part of a healthy process of getting older. We can gracefully get older.
In contrast to getting older, getting old is a decline in the quality of life.
Many of us may be sick or may get sick with debilitating illnesses. Chronic disease has never been a part of getting older – only getting old. The history of human evolution suggests that developing chronic disease is not part of the normal human life cycle.
Our options to deal with the complications of getting old with these illnesses compromise our quality of life. There are in-home nursing care, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. There are numerous medications we must take, doctor’s appointments we must keep, and life goals we must change. But, all this is not inevitable. If triggers of chronic disease were addressed in a timely fashion, we could prevent or improve this decline in the quality of our life.
Even as far back as 1980, James F. Fries, M.D. published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine that discussed his concept of compression of morbidity. In his article, Dr. Fries explained that chronic disease affects the quality of life. The amount of years that are affected depends on the onset of disease. He suggested that the years of decreased quality of life could be shortened and possibly reduced completely if only we controlled the environmental causes of chronic disease early on.
I have written about how we can manage as much as 90% of the causes of chronic disease. That includes the chronic infection of gum disease.
Some people have suggested that as we age, we will eventually lose our teeth and require false teeth to replace our natural teeth. That is not true. A healthy mouth reflects a healthy body – a body that has been nourished with both nutrient-dense foods and an effective lifestyle.
Here are two photos of a man and a woman. These pictures may be disturbing to some readers because they may look unnatural. However, the photography was done with the lips pulled back to show the teeth and gums for better viewing. Both have healthy mouths; both have healthy bodies:
Getting older is what I strive for; getting old is not in my vocabulary.