The Ageing You Can’t See But Can Start Addressing Now

There’s no point in waiting for your retirement to begin thinking about your age. Cardiologist Dr Jason Kaplan explains the ageing process and why taking care of your health now is an investment in your future.

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Possibly a few wrinkles or lines, grey hairs, or other signs of ageing. It’s easy to spot the way time changes our appearance, but what about what’s happening on the inside?

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As we get older, it makes sense that our organs – such as our heart, liver and kidneys – mature too. However, as we can’t see this, it is almost impossible to know how well they’re ageing, and whether we need to pay particular care to any organ in particular.

As we age these vital organs, change and may lose their ability to function at their previously normal level.[i] We rarely notice that these changes are happening, as we don’t tend to use or need our organs to function at their peak. While most of us don’t need to worry, some health problems may occur if your body’s organs have been working at a less-than optimum rate for some time and can no longer function efficiently.[ii]

While only a GP can assess the health of your organs and overall health, it can be a good idea to implement some positive daily health habits, which can support the function of these all-important body parts.

Here’s how you can take care of those all-important cells, tissues and organs, for today and all of your tomorrows:

Your kidneys

The kidneys filter your blood and help remove wastes and extra fluid from the body. As we age, they may become less efficient at performing this role.[iii]

By ensuring your kidneys are in good health, through regular testing (it’s recommended to have a kidney health check every two years), and following a balance healthy diet and regular exercise, you can increase their life and functionality.[iv]

Your liver

As we age, the volume and blood flow of the liver gradually decreases. While this is normal, in some cases this may lead to illness.[v] [vi]

To keep your liver in good shape, it’s recommended that you maintain a healthy body weight, exercise regularly, and reduce your intake of sugary, processed and fatty foods and alcohol.[vii], [viii]

Your heart

Getting older may mean that your cardiovascular system experiences stiffening of the blood vessels and arteries which can then lead to high blood pressure (hypertension).[ix] This means that your heart needs to work harder to pump blood through them, and this extra strain on the heart muscles could lead to an increased risk of heart problems.[x]

Supplementing your diet with aged garlic extract may also help our hearts as we get older.[xi]. A recent study, published in Frontiers of Nutrition, found that Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract (KAGE) was effective in reducing blood pressure in patients with hypertension (including those that were on medication) and has the potential to improve arterial stiffness, inflammation and gut health.

The study found that KAGE made arteries more flexible and reduced arterial age by 5 years in a time frame of 3 months. In comparison, raw garlic does not have the same benefits to heart health, since garlic loses its active component, allicin, when you cook it.[xii]

To help keep your heart in tip-top shape, it’s also important to follow a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, reduce stress levels and ensure that you regularly get a good night’s sleep.[xiii], [xiv], [xv], .[xvi], [xvii], [xviii]

If you have concerns about your health, speak to your GP or health professional for advice.

References:

[i] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/004012.htm
[ii] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/004012.htm
[iii] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/004010.htm
[iv] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/004010.htm
[v] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4736713/
[vi] https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/cirrhosis-of-the-liver
[vii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4736713/
[viii] https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/a088f80f-fcdb-4c5d-aa00-ca776bd7f792/phe199-liver.pdf.aspx
[ix] http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/chronic-cardio
[x] https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/about-us/what-we-do/heart-disease-in-australia/heart-disease-fact-sheet
[xi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103721/
[xii] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2018.00122/full
[xiii] https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/know-your-risks/healthy-weight
[xiv] https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/active-living/get-active
[xv] https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/food-and-nutrition
[xvi] https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/reduce-your-stress-to-protect-your-heart
[xvii] https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#1
[xviii] https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/public-information/fact-sheets-a-z/good-sleep-habits.html

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