In reviewing the 16 characteristics of centenarians from the book Living to be 100, it is not surprising that the first three listed are achieving and maintaining low numbers in three biomarkers that are standard medical checkpoints: low blood sugar, low blood pressure, and low total cholesterol.
Low Blood Sugar, Low Blood Pressure, Low Cholesterol
Do you know your numbers?
As I have hosted information tables at health fairs and other events, it has been fascinating to realize that many people can immediately tell me their numbers of these three biomarkers. However, the next question is, “Are you- and your doctor- satisfied with those numbers?” Then, “What’s your strategy to get to ‘better numbers’?”
On the back of my naturopath’s business card, Dr. Judith Ziol (Journey Natural Medicine) conveniently lists normal numbers. I list them for you here as standard suggestions from the medical community.
Blood Sugar: Fasting <100 ; Hb A1C<6.0.
Blood pressure: Normal <120/80; pre-hypertension 12–140/80-90.
Cholesterol: total <200; triglicerides <150; LDL (lousy/bad cholesterol) <100; HDL (happy/good cholesterol) men >40; women >50.
Strategies to Maintain and Keep Your Biomarker Numbers Low
How do we actually do this- keep these biomarkers low- on a daily basis?
Let me share some very good news. I first heard this observation from Jim Rohn, a well-respected business guru, who said, “There are only about a half dozen things that make 80 percent of the difference in any area of our lives.” Not a hundred or more…but half a dozen. This is certainly true in the area of health and wellness. I can do half a dozen…and so can you.
The biomarker numbers simply let you know that you are on track with your lifestyle choices. If the numbers are not where they should be, you need to make changes, you need to make other choices. “The only way things are going to change for me is when I change”- also Jim Rohn.
The other characteristics of centenarians covered in the book are specific strategies that will help you achieve these three low numbers as well as keeping your weight low and steady (#4). I list them here with the plan to cover each one in more depth in future posts.
- Eat Fewer Calories
- Eat a mostly vegetarian Mediterranean Diet.
- Take your vitamins/supplements.
- Exercise regularly, be active, and stay busy after retirement
- Don’t smoke or stop smoking if you do
- Drink less alcohol
- Get regular and restful sleep
- Maintain healthy gums
- Challenge your mind
- Stay positive in attitude and avoid anxiety and depression
- Shed those stressors, have daily structure and be resilient
- Stay socially connected with serenity and a purpose to life
What’s Your Focus as You Add Another Birthday Candle?
In summary, may I suggest that your mental attitude about aging itself is important: keeping these numbers at the suggested levels will help you age well, rather than having you focus on staying young, which, by the way, is impossible for anyone to do!
If you are wondering if you are on track to achieve centenarian status, find out what your numbers are with a physical check up with your physician/health care professional. Then give me a call (480.382.8255) and let’s talk about what lifestyle strategies you can tweak (or start) so that you can accomplish all that you truly want to do!