Aging: Natural Process or Disease?

Thursday, September 20, 2012 Stef dela Cruz 0 Comments

Is aging a disease? Because it seems that a lot of people are so excited to “treat” it.

Wrinkles, white hair, sagging skin – all these are signs of aging. When we grow old, our cells no longer function the way they did before. Melanocytes in our hair no longer produce pigment as effectively as they used to, which explains the increasing number of grey hair in your noggin. The production of collagen and elastin, proteins that make our skin plump and tight, also dwindles with age, ushering in an era of crow feet, laugh lines, and forehead furrows.

Time catches up with us soon enough, the evidence staring us in the face when we look in the mirror. But aging is part of life. We are born, raised, molded, educated… and later, we are dried, wrinkled, and preserved – or at least, we look like we have been.

Turning back the clock

Turning back the clock: is that really necessary?
Are we finding a way to age gracefully,
or are we simply resisting age?

However, wrinkles and white hair are like battle scars: they may look unsightly to some, but they tell a story to all.

As a doctor, I have always been asked about my opinion on cosmetic procedures that fight signs of aging. Let the records show that I have nothing against these. We are custodians of the earth and of our own bodies. We try to keep fit and healthy, inside and out.

I therefore salute the men and women who look younger than they really are. However, I also believe there is a fine line between aging gracefully and resisting age – and that fine line (pun not intended) is called “acceptance”.

Accepting that we will grow old (and look old) is an integral part of aging gracefully. Knowing our limitations – mentally, emotionally, physically, and even chronologically – helps us define who we are. With these limits, we realize that we are just temporary residents here on earth.

(This opinion piece on aging being treated as a disease is to be continued HERE.)

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a vegan doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She is the editor of The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene Magazine. Get in touch if you want to invite her as a speaker!