A friend of mine wanted to know about a physical problem she had regarding a plaque build-up within her aorta artery that showed up after tests were done. Afterwards, she was told by her cardiologist not to worry about it …that plaque buildup “is quite normal as you age”. Have you heard that one before? I have. About 10 years ago I took a bone density test and was diagnosed with osteopenia, a pre-cursor to osteoporosis. When I took the results to my physical therapist, who was also an MD, she said that the loss of bone density is a normal consequence of aging. That I shouldn´t worry about it. Not only have I heard statements like that from Drs. and caregivers, but friends and family often reply the same way when talking or complaining about some illness they have…“It´s the age”. And it´s not only plaque buildup or osteoporosis that is often blamed on age, but high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia and the buildup of cholesterol, as well.
I´m not saying that as we get older we´re not more susceptible to the body breaking down, but to write certain diseases off as a “natural” result of aging means that there´s little we can do about it, so we might as well accept our fate, whatever that illness might be. At the age of 77 I´m well aware of the importance of taking better care of myself because of the wear and tear my body has gone through during my ¾ of a century on the planet. But I´m definitely not going to throw my hands up and accept what fate has to offer. It´s like “climate change”. If you believe it´s a natural process of nature and man has nothing to do with it then you will just accept destiny and whatever catastrophes might come along. However, if you see that humans are at least partially responsible for “climate change”, then there is hope. Now there is something that can be done…there is action that can be taken to improve the health of our planet. Are we willing to take the risk and do nothing? I don´t think that´s a good choice.
Similarly, if we don´t accept “It´s the age” adage, doors open for us and now we have options. There are now choices to be made and actions to be taken…if indeed we want to improve our own health. I believe that a long and healthy life is largely a matter of the choices we make.
In 2015, Dr. Kim Williams became president of the American College of Cardiology. He was asked why he chose to eat a strictly plant based diet. “I don´t mind dying,” Dr. Williams said. “I just don´t want it to be my fault.”