Monday, 23 May 2016

What's Keeping Our Wellderly Population Healthy?

Staying fit, healthy and sharp for as long as possible is what many of us hope to achieve in life. A study, started in 2007, entitled the Wellderly Study, is uncovering links between good cognitive health and protection from chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Initial findings  from the project, which has enrolled over 1,400 people in America between the ages of 80 and 105 with no chronic medical conditions, seem to indicate that a healthy brain and a healthy body are linked but how cause and effect are related is still unclear.
Dr Eric Topol, in an article in the San Diego Union Tribune, speculates that "it could be that the brain-protective variants have other effects that preserve health in the whole body. Alternatively, people who are clear-headed might be better at following healthy living habits".

The "Wellderly" population have been defined as "exceptional individuals who live into their ninth decade and beyond without developing a significant chronic medical condition". Conditions or diseases including cancer, stroke, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, diabetes and heart attack account for 90% of all deaths in industrialised nations and around 75% of health care costs. Understanding the link and how we can potentially protect ourselves against these conditions would have huge implications.

Of course while we await further results and findings from the study there are many things we can do to give ourselves the best chance of staying fit and well. Eating a healthy, balanced diet, getting regular check ups from the GP, staying active both mentally and physically and ensuring we stay sociable, all put us on the right track.

Do you consider yourself part of the Wellderly population or know someone who is? What is it about your/their lifestyle that sets you/them apart?

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