Is It Aging or Illness?

By Ashlee Jane, NMD

Healthy Aging

‘Healthy aging’ is a trending topic, and for good reason. In the past several years life expectancy in the US has been slowly decreasing, while it continues to rise in Europe. Year after year the leading causes of death in the US remain the same - heart disease, cancer, injuries, Alzheimer’s, diabetes. Lack of progress in prevention indicates a vast niche which naturopathic medicine may fill. 

Could it be Heart Disease?

Heart disease is often called the silent killer, because patients suffering are thought to have no symptoms. However, this is often not quite true. Associated symptoms may be vague, not originating in or affecting the heart itself, and subtle or mild. These may include: 

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath, or feeling easily winded
  • Pain or weakness
  • Feeling cold, especially in the limbs
  • Swelling, especially of the feet and ankles
  • Nausea, indigestion, or heartburn

While there can be many causes for these symptoms, they should not be accepted as “signs of aging” without clinical or laboratory screening. In a majority of cases, even in the absence of chronic illness, these can be reversed and/or eliminated. 

Could it be Alzheimer’s or Type 2 Diabetes? 

Conditions like Alzheimer’s and diabetes are often considered genetic, however, both have several reversible factors that may prevent progression or reverse some signs of disease. These include: 

  • Blood sugar regulation
  • Insulin resistance
  • Inflammation, especially digestive and neural
  • Food intolerances
  • Slow detoxification 

Curbing the Epidemic

Due to the epidemic of chronic disease, affecting 1 in 5 adults and increasing with age, it is important to address mild factors that appear to be “quality of life” related. These are often the early warning signs of imbalance, which may be indicating slow progression towards a chronic disease. Working with a naturopathic physician is a great solution for prevention and quality of life improvements. 


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