Leading expert in preventive medicine, Prof. Dr. Bamberger, shares his knowledge and experience about the prevention of aging-related diseases.
Prof. Dr. Bamberger is the director of the Medical Prevention Center Hamburg, Germany (MPCH). He has made significant advances in research and medical practice concerning aging-related diseases and their prevention. Prof. Bamberger is also the first person in Germany to hold a professorship for leading endocrinology research related to the metabolism of aging and has published various books on the subject.
Prof. Bamberger, what potential does anti-aging medicine hold for both health professionals and patients?
I strongly believe that prevention is the medicine of the 21st century. Traditional repair medicine has extended our average life expectancy to almost 80 years.
However, preventive medicine is required to make these additional years healthy and happy ones. More and more, health care professionals are going to assume the role of prevention coaches in this process.
What are the most essential aspects in preventing aging related diseases?
Preventive medicine has become much more specific and individual over the last years. General advice such as “exercise more” or “don’t smoke” is still valid.
However, nowadays patients want to get an answer to the question: what can I do for myself? What are the strengths and weaknesses I should pay special attention to?
Detailed medical checks can answer these questions and therefore form the basis of modern preventive medicine.
In your books, you often mention hormones and the role they play in well-being as we age. Can you explain why?
The decline of certain hormones, such as estrogens, testosterone, DHEA and growth hormone is one of the hallmarks of the aging process. Usually, this decline is pretty tolerable.
There are some people though, who experience symptoms of hormone deficiency which are very disturbing for them, e.g. depression, sleep disorders or impairment of sexual function. In these cases, controlled hormone replacement can be quite useful. I would like to add that this should always be done by an experienced endocrinologist.
One of your books is called – Better life, longer life. 10 more healthy years are possible: the individual prevention programme. How can you achieve these 10 years?
At our Center in Hamburg, we developed a 4 step-model of healthy aging. Adherence to this model can indeed prolong your life by up to ten healthy years. Step 1 is our extensive check-up.
Based on the results we can give the patient specific advice as to how to optimize his or her life style (step 2). Some need to take care of their cholesterol, others are more sensitive to alcohol, and others need frequent colonoscopies since they are at an increased risk for colon cancer.
So everybody is different, and preventive medicine has to take that into account. Step 3 includes administering preventive medication, e.g. “baby aspirin” or statins, and hormones, again based on the results in step 1. The 4th step deals with psychological well-being and what I like to call “stress intelligence”.
. . .one single piece of advice I would say: move! Toxic sitting - as I like to call it – is probably the most important life style sin of our days.
Prof. Dr. Bamberger
Do you have practical advice about preventing aging related diseases for our readers? If I should myself restrict to one single advice I would say: move! Toxic sitting - as I like to call it – is probably the most important lifestyle sin of our days.
What is your view of the future of preventive medicine and aging-related conditions and diseases?
It will get even more specific and individual. We also like to use the term “personalized medicine” in this context.
Preventive genetic testing will play a crucial role for this since it can detect individual weaknesses long before they become apparent.
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