Monthly Archives: December 2017

Theory of Aging

Aging is the natural process of maturing, or growing, and after a certain period of time, it leads to the death of the person. As time passes, we all age, and eventually die. That is the cycle of life. But why do we age? What causes our health to deteriorate? There are various theories that revolve with the psychology of aging.

Due to the efflux of time and wear and tear, the value of any asset decreases. However, can the same principle be applied to the human body? Does our human body suffer, too and age due to wear and tear? According to this theory, it is due to the external factors that our body is subjected to damage and degradation, hence, our health depreciates. After the wear and tear causes too much damage to our body to sustain, death occurs. With age, the body also loses its ability to damage repairs and combat diseases. Our body is subject to abuse by external elements and also by usage.
Definition
There are various theories of aging, out of which, the ‘Wear and Tear’ theory of aging suggests that, human beings are simply like assets, and the cells of our bodies are subject to wear and tear. There are various external agents, such as chemicals, ultra-violet rays, harsh climate, etc., that damage our body cells. In addendum, there can be various other reasons, such as smoking and over consumption of alcohol, that can add to the damage done to the body. Lifestyle and over usage may accelerate the frequency of damage to the body.

In short, this theory suggests that aging in humans is due to the degradation which the body is subject to. Let’s see some examples to elaborate this biological theory of aging.

Examples
Skin
Skin
The skin is the most delicate and exposed part of the human body. Apart from weather, sunlight, bruises, pregnancy marks, etc., all are the result of wear and tear the skin is being subjected to. With age, there is thinning of the epidermis, and it appears more wrinkled.

Bones
Bones undergo degradation too, and with age, there are many who complain of osteoporosis (weakening of the bones) and osteoarthritis (pain and stiffness in the joints). With efflux of time, our muscles tend to contract, thereby losing mass. Further, we suffer from joint pains due to increase in tensions. Of course, these issues can be combated with regular exercise.
Eyesight
Eyesight
With age, we may tend to suffer from loss of vision to some extent, or fall prey to diseases like cataracts. Our eyes lose the natural ability to develop tears, and that leads to dry eyes. The occurrence of ‘presbyopia’ becomes common, which makes it difficult for the patient to read fine print. These symptoms are usually observed after the age of forty.

Choose Individual Health Insurance Plans

Shopping around for health insurance is not a simple exercise with the wide range of options to choose from, ranging from HMOs to PPOs and other plans. A well chosen health insurance plan can save you a lot of money in the long term. Ergo, it’s essential that you research health insurance products in microscopic details before choosing one.

How to Select the Best Individual Health Insurance Plan

Considering the exorbitant bills medical practitioners and hospitals charge for treatment, it’s essential that one has an individual health insurance plan that can effectively cover for a substantial part of these expenses. There are a range of individual health insurance products varying in the facilities and degree of coverage they offer. Here are some tips on how choosing individual health insurance plans, tailor made to your own requirements.

Assess Your Health Risk
Firstly, you need to assess your own health risk. What are the individual health care expenses that you normally pay for? What are the kind of health risks that you are prone to, in the near future? Analyzing your own health risk can give you an idea about what kind of health insurance will be well suited for you.

Choosing the Right Type of Plan – HMO, PPO or HDHP?
There are many types of individual health insurance plans that you can choose from. Two of the prime types, which fall under the title of ‘Managed Care Plans’ are HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) and PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations). HMOs offer health care through a closed network of medical practitioners and hospitals. More flexible than HMOs, PPOs also offer their own network of specialists, with the additional facility of consulting doctors outside the preferred network.

The prime difference lies in the fact that PPOs, unlike HMOs, do not require that you have a primary physician from their network. You can choose any doctor to be your primary physician. PPOs tend to cost more than HMOs, but offer a wider range of consulting medical faculty, compared to HMOs.

A third option is to go for a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and qualify for an HSA (Health Savings Account). HDHPs offer comparatively low monthly premiums, compared to other health insurance plans and enable individuals pay for their own medical expenses through tax deferred savings in health savings accounts. Consider all the details and the pros and cons of HDHPs, PPOs and HMOs, before choosing one.

What is the Monthly Premium?
Though health insurance plans differ in the nature of managed care offered, they all have some common features as insurance products, according to which you can compare them. The most important feature is the health insurance monthly premium charged to the insured. Depending on the amount of coverage offered, the monthly premium will vary. PPOs have a high premium compared to HMOs and HDHPs.

The regular Diet coke offers no nutrition and contains ingredients

Did You Know?
Diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners that stimulate the production of insulin, a hormone known to promote storage of fats. As such, drinking diet sodas on a regularly basis can also lead to weight gain.
When it comes to carbonated beverages, Diet Coke has always be the first choice among health-conscious consumers. The sugar content in Diet Coke is nil, making it a better alternative to regular Coke. Its lower calorie count too appears to make it a wiser pick. However, replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners like aspartame has not gone down well with some health experts. The inclusion of chemical preservatives like phosphoric acid and potassium benzoate is also a cause for concern. No wonder the beverage is often referred to as a ‘chemical cocktail’. Let’s put all assumptions to rest, and check out the ingredients of Diet Coke, along with its nutrition and calorie content.

Artificial Sweeteners

Sugar is not added to elicit a ‘sweet’ flavor. The sweet taste of Diet Coke comes from aspartame, an artificial sweetener. Aspartame is so sweet (200 times sweeter than sugar) that infinitesimally tiny amounts is added to emulate the sweetness of sugar. However, it is this addition of aspartame that has courted lot of criticism among health experts. Although approved by the FDA, studies have linked long-term use of aspartame to increased risk of a wide range of medical conditions, including seizures, birth defects, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems.

Caffeine

A 330 ml serving of Diet Coke provides around 42 mg of caffeine. The increased alertness after drinking Diet Coke is due to the presence of this caffeine. This is slightly higher when compared to other beverage brands that are available in the same size. For instance, 354 ml Diet Pepsi contains around 32 mg of caffeine. However, in case you are sensitive to caffeine intake, you can always choose the caffeine-free formulation of Diet Coke.

Preservatives

Preservatives are added to protect the beverages from deterioration caused by micro-organisms like bacteria and fungi. In the case of Diet Coke, the preservatives that keep the beverage safe from microbial effects are phosphoric acid, citric acid, and potassium benzoate. However, this phosphoric acid can be damaging to bone health, as it draws out calcium from the bones, eventually making them weak and brittle.

Caramel Color

Upon closely observing the beverage, you would notice that it appears darker and visually appealing. This is due to the addition of caramel color that enhances the color of naturally occurring ingredients as well as the flavor and taste. It is this caramel color that makes the beverage more desirable.

Handle Male Menopause

Menopause marks the decline in their levels in human body. In women, menopause occurs with noticeable changes that end their menstrual cycle. However, in men, these changes are perceived as signs of old age. This is, however, true because sex hormones are the highest during youth and naturally decline towards old age, thus, affecting sexual health. Did you know? At 60 to 70 years of age, the testosterone levels in your body are about half of what you had when you were 25 years old.

Dealing with Male Menopause
Man-opause or andropause is the mechanism of the fall in the levels of testosterone, also known as androgen, in a man on the horizon of old age. The body produces lesser and lesser quantities of this hormone, which mainly helps provide the masculine pitch to the voice during puberty, extra growth of hair on face and body as well as the development of the male reproductive system. The symptoms of male menopause are the same as exhibited during old age. Hence, it is not recognized by all doctors as menopause since women cannot reproduce post-menopause but a man as old as 100 years can father a child. As legend has it, Thomas Parr, born in 1483 and the oldest man documented to have lived, fathered a child even after he crossed the 130 years age mark. In fact, in the year 2010, a 94-year old Indian laborer had a boy with his wife. The decline in the production of testosterone in men occurs at a much slower pace as compared to the female menopause. These changes are felt by men in late forties and early fifties. They become prominent by the age of 70.

Symptoms of Andropause
The symptoms are very similar to those experienced by women going through menopause. But, these symptoms reportedly disappeared once testosterone was artificially administered to the male, which does support the existence of the male sexual disorder. The drop in the level of testosterone in the male body leads to the following changes:

• Muscle weakness• Loss of bone weight• Memory loss• Poor concentration power• Frequent mood swings• Osteoporosis• Exhaustion• Loss of stamina• Depression• Loss of libido• Increase in fat percentage of the body• Erectile dysfunction• Testicular dysfunction• Low sperm count• Premature ejaculation• Decreased frequency of morning erection

Treatment Options
If a man is suffering from andropause, he is examined by a doctor to rule out any diseases, because type 2 diabetes and hardening of arteries also trigger the andropause symptoms. A series of blood tests are required to be carried out to ascertain the testosterone level in the body. If the levels are low, a man does not have to worry as there is treatment available. A lot of men have favorably responded to hormonal replacement therapies that were administered to them to increase their testosterone levels. Since 1999, there has been about a 400% rise in the demand for testosterone therapy. But, you must note that these treatments may have some potential side effects on the body. If you are a prostate cancer patient, have undergone treatment for it, or have a tendency of prostate cancer in your family history, it is advised that you do not take such testosterone-increasing therapies as they may instigate or worsen the cancer. Other side effects include prostate enlargement, acne, thinning or loss of hair, sleep apnea and infertility. Other treatments include, making healthy lifestyle changes, adopting a nourishing diet to increase energy levels and a good exercise regime that is appropriate for the man’s age. You may also take psychiatric treatment to cure mood swings or depression. However, it is best to stay away from medications that may further disrupt the chemical changes in the body.