Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine: What It Is & How It Helps
It’s impossible to turn back the clock. The aging process is inevitable.
For now. But if the emerging science of anti-aging and regenerative medicine lives up to its promise, that might not be the case forever. In the not-too-distant future, humans might live far longer lives — and in far better health — than they do today.
Science fiction? Not even close. Here’s what you need to know about this growing branch of medicine and how it can help you live your best life.
What Is Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine?
Anti-aging and regenerative medicine seeks to understand and treat the root causes of the aging process. The goal is to extend individual patients’ lifespans while promoting better health outcomes and higher quality of life. Anti-aging treatments are personalized for the individual patient based on their unique characteristics: anatomy, underlying medical conditions, lab results, and so on.
As a discipline, the goal of anti-aging medicine is to reduce or eliminate common and not-so-common age-related diseases, lengthening the average human life expectancy. Anti-aging practitioners envision a world with less chronic and terminal disease.
Anti-aging medicine training is always evolving, but it currently encompasses:
- IV nutrition therapies
- Medical weight loss therapies
- Hormone replacement therapies
- Restorative topical therapies, such as platelet rich plasma (PRP) facials
- Sexual dysfunction treatments using secretagogues and other cutting-edge therapies
- Stem cell therapies, which in the future could help improve organ function, slow or reverse neurodegenerative conditions (such as Parkinson’s disease), and fight cell senescence (a common cause of tissue damage and other age-related processes)
What Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine Is Not
Anti-aging medicine has near limitless promise, so medical providers are tempted to lump a variety of treatments and procedures under its banner that have no business being there.
It’s not that these treatments aren’t useful in their own right. It’s just not accurate to call them “regenerative medicine.”
Cosmetic and medical treatments that aren’t anti-aging or regenerative medicine include:
- Botox® injections
- Dermal filler injections
- Thread lifts
- Laser skin treatments, such as laser hair removal
- Other topical skin treatments, such as microdermabrasion and sclerotherapy
- Pain management treatments, such as massage and chiropractic manipulation
Benefits of anti-aging Medicine — How It Helps Patients
The idea of anti-aging medicine can seem wonky or downright weird. But this emerging field has already improved countless patients’ quality of life.
Right now, anti-aging medicine helps patients by:
- Improving sexual desire, performance, and satisfaction
- Boosting mood and energy levels in patients with decline levels of sex hormones
- Controlling weight and BMI in older patients
- Managing and even reversing symptoms of type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions
- Personalizing medical treatments for better health outcomes and patient satisfaction
Anti-aging medicine is just getting started. In the future, it could revolutionize healthcare as we know it, dramatically extending lifespans and turning “old age” into something to look forward to, not dread.
For example, stem cell therapies could change how we think about risk in medical intervention. Today, older patients have lower overall likelihood of organ transplant success due to age-related health conditions and shorter life expectancy. Thus, they have a lower probability of selection for potentially life-extending organ transplant procedures.
Treatments that reduce rejection risk and overall surgical risk could help older patients who need new vital organs receive the care they need alongside the younger patients who’ve traditionally taken priority. Eventually, stem cell therapies could enable us to grow bioidentical organ tissue in controlled laboratory settings, eliminating the need for organ transplants altogether.
It’s an exciting time for anti-aging and regenerative medicine — and we all stand to benefit.