Cougar Women, Aging and Telomeres

Cougar Women do whatever they can to make sure they grow older with grace, vitality and of course sexual energy.  Get a group of women together and the conversation always gets around to how to look and feel years younger than our chronological age. Oprah does many of her shows on this fascinating topic and often asks Dr Mehmet Oz to fill us in on the latest and greatest medical breakthroughs. On one of those shows Dr. Oz was talking about telomeres and how they hold dramatic new information about aging.

Dr. RafaelleOne of my favorite doctors here in New York City is Dr. Joseph Raffaele. Dr. Raffaele is a member of the American College of Physicians, is board certified in internal medicine, and is a diplomat of the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine. In 1995 Dr. Raffaele began researching and developing a scientifically-based treatment program and co-founded PhysioAge Medical Group. Since 1997 Dr. Raffaele has been exclusively focused on anti-aging medicine and bioidentical hormone replacement.

Dr. Raffaele convinced me to take a test to check the length of my telomeres. It was done with a simple blood test. He is very passionate about the research being done and recently wrote an article which gives us a greater insight to why they are so important. Here are some excerpts from his article.

A telomere is like a protective cap for the ends of chromosomes, which carry the genetic material of cells. Picture two shoelaces, one with a plastic tip and the other without.  Just as that tip keeps the threads of a shoelace from fraying, telomeres keep our chromosomes intact and functioning—healthy enough to allow them to reproduce cells. When you can’t reproduce cells, you become old and frail.

It’s the length of a telomere that’s crucial—the longer it is, the healthier you are. And not surprisingly, the older you are, the shorter your telomeres tend to be. Over the past few years, anti-aging reserachers have been developing methods to measure telomeres—and to evaluate the beneficial effects of therapies to maintain and even increase telomere length. And that makes it one of the most exciting new areas in the entire field.

 

It’s been a generation since cholesterol levels became known as a marker of cardiovascular health. People began comparing their cholesterol counts in general conversation, and cholesterol-reducing strategies from eating less fat to taking medications like Lipitor became a mainstay of any discussion of personal health. But monitoring and intervening in cholesterol levels is now about as cutting edge as a floppy disk.  Though a major advance in its day and still a useful tool, cholesterol counts are hardly sophisticated by today’s standards.  It can give you a snapshot of your heart health, but not much more. Whatever your cholesterol count is today, and whatever it might indicate about your risk of heart disease, it tells you nothing about the cumulative damage your arteries have undergone over the years. History is not written in your cholesterol level. So as an early-warning system, it has its limitations. And it’s by no means a biomarker of aging.

But telomere length is—and its time is fast approaching. It won’t be long before people are talking less about their cholesterol counts than about their telomere lengths.  Indeed, it’s becoming increasingly evident how closely related the two developments are—and how far telomere length may surpass cholesterol as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool. Just as the original Framingham Heart Study demonstrated a link between high cholesterol and heart disease, many studies over the past few years have made a direct association between telomere length, age, and chronic disease.

However, unlike with cholesterol, it’s not just one of the diseases of aging that is associated with telomere length, but many—everything from cancer to dementia. And just as the world changed when a test to inexpensively measure cholesterol came along, it is about to change again with the development of a simple lab test to measure telomere length that will become increasingly available in the coming few years.

To read the article in it's entirely, just click here.  

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