The life expectancy of 65-year-olds continues to rise, according to figures from the CBS. We are getting older. But how do we stay as long as possible, fit? Ten questions to prof. dr. Andrea Maier, internist and professor of ageing at the Free University in Amsterdam and the University of Melbourne. And author of the book of Eternal life.
In your book you say that we easily reach a hundred or even older. How is it that we are getting older?
“That we have ourselves to thank for: we have in the Western world, war, famine, and infectious diseases eliminated. And in hospitals, we keep ourselves alive with surgery and medication. The downside is that we the last years of our lives, often not in the best health. We wear out that often with all sorts of ailments. In the Netherlands, 50 percent of the zestigplussers one or more diseases.”
Is that not logical? Old age comes with flaws?
“Not per se. We hóéven not to be sick. We already know that we certain diseases with lifestyle can prevent. But we are now mainly reactive busy; we are trying to diseases to eradicate when we are already ill his. But when we preemptively engaged, we get less or no age-related diseases. There are centenarians with no sickness!”
“If you are of a young age, healthy to eat and a lot moved you will be at a later age healthier”
dr. Andrea Maier
How do we do that then, prevent going?
“Research shows that there is a correlation between lifestyle at a young age and vitality at a later age. If you are of a young age, healthy to eat and a lot moved you will be at a later age healthier.”
Prof. dr. Andrea Maier is specialist and professor of ageing at the Free University in Amsterdam and the University of Melbourne.
And if you do that at a young age not to have done?
“Then I have good news: when you only at a later age start to exercise and eat healthily, you can still benefit from it. It is never too late to change to throw. In a study of zeventigjarigen that in the early stages of obesity and diabetes were, proved that motion to the sugar levels did drop.”
And therefore they remained more vital?
“Yes. icipants were not only better physical health, they felt better and fitter. In addition, it appeared from their bloedsamples that the number of obsolete cells, also known as senescent cells, called, gradually declined. In other words: a healthy lifestyle had an ‘antiageing effect.”
“People should eat less”
dr. Andrea Maier
Move so. And eating? What should we eat and drink for as long as possible to remain vital?
“Or, no bread, pasta, milk, or gluten, that is why I do not endorse. Everyone knows that vegetables and fruit are healthy. Further, you should less eat. If you are overweight, at least. That’s a lot of people: 49 percent of the Dutch population has overweight and 14 percent obese. We think that’s part of the process each year, a kilo heavier. Nonsense! A tip: take a small plate. Them, you eat 20 percent less with the same feeling of fullness. Or eat until you are 80 percent full’. That is enough.”
But should we then live as monks for as long as possible to stay healthy?
“Certainly not, you need to understand to enjoy life. From a study of the honderdplussers shows that they often have a rich social life; they have long-standing relationships, in which they invest. They find life valuable. They have something for every morning and they drink sometimes a glass of wine with friends.”
Is not (vital) old “own fault fat lump’?
“By our genes is 25% affected 75% not. You have it so not completely in their own hands, but for a large part. ‘Debt’ I wouldn’t like to call it. That is a negative concept that does not motivates you. I formulate it rather positive: it is proved that you yourself can do something to your health.”
You do research into medications to aging. But móéten we 120 want to be?
“It does me absolutely not. But it is a fact that we are also living longer. And that we can then but the best in good health. Right? My aim is not to last as long as possible to live, but for as long as possible to remain vital. No one wants to the walker, no one wants to be demented, no one wants his last years to wear out with all sorts of nasty ailments. Also, remember everyone that we are now also on a daily basis to intervene in the aging process.”
“With lower cholesterol, anti-hypertensive medications or insulin injections for diabetes, for example. The drugs we for the last thirty years have been developed to ensure that patients are not dying of their illness: we keep the illness under control and slow down this aging.”
Would you 150 want to be?
“If that’s healthy to do, and with all the pleasure in life, for sure! But if it is at seventy, is also good. Why it is about time to talk? That only makes sense if you that time makes sense spend. And if you can participate in the fun things in life. This is only possible when you are healthy and vital.”
Prof. dr. Andrea Maier is specialist and professor of ageing at the Free University in Amsterdam and the University of Melbourne. In addition, she is the managing director of the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Melbourne. She examines aging of cells and works on the development of drugs against aging in people. She also wrote the book “Forever lasting-the unknown future of our body,” that at the beginning of this year was published at Publishing house Prometheus.
The prognosis of life expectancy is part of the annual population prognosis of statistics netherlands. The CBS population prognosis 2018-2060 will on 18 december will be published.