Age spots were the last things Linda Walsh
wanted to see developing on her feet and legs three years ago. Just 42 years
old, her hair was also beginning to fall out, her joints were increasingly
stiff and she was constantly fatigued.
Today the Southern California resident's skin
is blemish-free, and her hair is as lustrous and full as it has ever been.
She's healthy and active, running her growing business. Walsh said that she
owes the turnaround to antioxidant supplements and the specialized skincare
products she religiously lathers all over her face and body.
Each issue, WebMD the Magazine's "Health Highlights" focuses on a national health theme for the month with expert tips, reader comments, and eye-catching factoids. September is Healthy Aging month – follow these tips to stay at your peak!
1. Get moving
Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body and brain.
2. Stay social
Take a class, volunteer, play games, see old friends, and make new ones.
3. Bulk up
Eat beans and other high-fiber foods for digestive and heart health...
As more Americans such as Walsh join the
ranks of the aging population, they're finding that staying forever young isn't
always as simple as taking a few pills and smearing on special lotions.
Geneticists say that's because the cause of aging goes much deeper, all the way
into the core of the body's cells -- the genes -- the blueprint of human life,
which dictates how people grow, develop and age.
With the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention this summer reporting that Americans are now living an average of 30
years longer than they did in 1900, the thought of increasing human life
expectancy may no longer be a fantasy.
"There are lots and lots of genes that
can make a difference in how we age and how long we live," said Dr. George
Martin, adjunct professor of genetics at the University of Washington School of
Medicine in Seattle.
For the last 10 years, Martin has been
studying Werner's syndrome, a disease that causes people to develop symptoms of
aging as early as age 20. Persons with the syndrome develop gray hair,
osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes, symptoms that mirror the health of an
In 1996, Martin and his colleagues in
laboratories around the world isolated the cause: a gene they call recQ,
mutated so that it no longer works to support the cell's gene-maintenance
machinery. When the machine slows down, the person affected begins to display
the signs of premature aging.
Martin points out that because an alteration
in a gene causes symptoms of aging, physicians might someday be able to target
certain genes to slow the aging process.