According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), only 13 percent of both male and female baby boomers (aged 46 years to 64 years) considered themselves to be in “excellent health.”
Four in ten are obese while less than that (35 percent) report exercising regularly. And an overwhelming 75 percent have high blood pressure—more than double the generation before them.
Is this the new normal for aging? As an integrative physician, I say no.
Healthy aging does not include the symptoms most think inevitable, like weight gain, not getting a good night’s rest, and suffering from a reduced sex drive, fatigue, or anxiety. These symptoms can often be attributed to certain imbalances occurring within the body, including gastrointestinal, thyroid, estrogen and testosterone, adrenals, and others.
But as symptom after symptom arises, some people keep piling on the medications to hide them. And despite their full medicine cabinets, these people do not necessarily feel any better than they did before. In fact, some feel worse from the side effects many prescriptions can cause.
For example, people who are having trouble sleeping, feel tired throughout the day, and no longer have any sex drive may seek separate medications for each individual symptom. They really should be looking at all three issues together and learning about what could be causing them. This is the case with the majority of clients I see.
People experiencing fatigue and brain fog could actually have a severe sensitivity to certain foods, such as the dairy protein casein, or often a gluten sensitivity, and as such, have a gastrointestinal system that is out of whack and affecting their immune system and mental health.
For others who may be having anxiety coupled with weight gain, their stress-regulating adrenal gland could have hormone levels that are off the charts, but easily addressed through a combination of natural supplements and integrated therapies, like massage and acupuncture.
Integrative medicine involves combining carefully selected standard medicine with holistic approaches to wellness that focus on the whole person. Holistic approaches help address the root cause, allowing people to finally get back to feeling their best.
One client who had severe hip arthritis for years is now training for the next Olympics! Through advanced diagnostic testing, we were able to identify certain food allergies, including gluten and casein, and with the help of nutrition counseling, she was able to adopt new dietary habits that eliminated most of her chronic pain.
By also integrating hyperbaric oxygen therapy, IV micronutrient therapy, massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic therapies, she has been able to improve her athletic performance overall and dramatically cut her post-workout recovery time.
Some individuals who’d had Type 2 diabetes for years have come in looking to better manage their health. Through medical weight-loss programs, ongoing nutrition counseling, and natural supplements, these individuals have been able to work with their endocrinologists to come off their medications and now have their disease under control naturally.
Other clients who had previously taken prescription statins for high cholesterol, which have a variety of known side effects including muscle pain and digestive problems, now have their cholesterol levels in check, thanks again to the integrated combination of a medical weight-loss program, nutrition counseling, natural supplements, and acupuncture.
In addition, they have a better understanding of their health overall, thanks to a more in-depth look at their comprehensive risk profile through advanced diagnostic testing.
So don’t accept feeling tired as par for the course when it comes to getting older. Don’t accept weight gain, trouble sleeping, fatigue, reduced sex drive, brain fog, or anxiety as normal. Look for an integrative wellness provider who will partner with you to create a holistic, personalized plan to get you back to feeling your best.
Dr. Douglas Lord has more than 40 years of experience as an OB-GYN in the Washington, D.C., area and serves as medical director for Nava Health and Vitality Center (NavaCenter.com) with centers in D.C., Chevy Chase, and Columbia.