The World Health Organization estimates that by the year 2025, we will be a planet of 8 billion residents.
At that time, the number of people age 65 and older will exceed 800 million - one of every 10 people.
Anti-aging is the fastest-growing medical specialty throughout the world. The specialty is founded on the application of advanced scientific technologies for the early detection, prevention, treatment and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders and diseases. It is a health care model promoting innovative science and research to prolong the healthy lifespan in humans.
As such, anti-aging is based on principles of sound and responsible health care that are consistent with those applied in other preventive health specialties. The phrase "anti-aging," as such, relates to the ap-plication of advanced biomedical technologies focused on the early detection, prevention and treatment of aging-related disease. The goal of anti-aging health is not to merely prolong the total years of an individual's life, but to ensure that those years are enjoyed in a productive and vital fashion.
Anti-aging medicine is the following:
- It is scientific. Anti-aging diagnostic and treatment practices are supported by scientific evidence and therefore cannot be branded as anecdotal.
- It is evidence-based. Anti-aging is based on an orderly process for acquiring data in order to formulate a scientific and objective assessment upon which effective treatment is assigned.
- It is well-documented by peer-reviewed journals. As of September 2007, the National Library of Medicine hosts more than 2,200 peer-reviewed articles on the subject of anti-aging medicine.
Anti-aging is among today's hottest health trends. Fueled largely by the aging baby-boomer population, which represents 28 percent of the U.S. population and controls 70 percent of the nation's wealth, the U.S. market for anti-aging products and services exceeded $45.5 billion in 2004. Growing at an average annual rate of 9.5 percent, the anti-aging market is projected to reach $72 billion by 2009.
The vast majority of the Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine's (A4M) anti-aging doctors are board certified in a primary medical specialty that is recognized by the AMA establishment. A survey conducted by the A4M in 2004 found the following composition:
- Family practice, 20 percent
- Endocrinology, 16 percent
- General medicine, 12 percent
- Cardiology, 12 percent
- Internal medicine, 8 percent
- Dermatology, 8 percent
- Osteopathy, 6 percent
- Obstetrics/gynecology, 5 percent
- Sports medicine, 5 percent
- Orthopedics, 4 percent
- Plastic surgery, 3 percent
- Chiropractic, 2 percent
These specialists generally devote 70 percent or more of their practices specifically to the early detection, prevention, treatment and amelioration of age-related dysfunction, disorders and diseases, to be "anti-aging physicians." The A4M estimates that there are more than 100,000 anti-aging physicians practicing around the world today.
The typical anti-aging patient can be described as a top-tier health care consumer. According to a 2002 study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, such consumers "have empowerment as their primary issue," expect to engage "in shared decision making with their physicians, and are generally college graduates, computer literate, with a household income of $50,000 or more." These consumers form a large part of the baby-boomer population. Thus there is a potential anti-aging base of upward of 75 million patients in the United States.
According to a USA Today/ABC News poll (conducted the week of Oct. 12, 2005), Americans are worried about these specific quality-of- life issues as they get older:
- Losing their health (73 percent)
- Losing the ability to take care of oneself (70 percent)
- Losing mental abilities (69 percent)
- Being a burden on their family (54 percent)
- Losing their looks (22 percent)
The public looks to the anti-aging doctor for answers to these health concerns. Anti-aging doctors fill a void in quality, wellness-oriented preventive health care that is sought by an increasingly greater segment of the population as it ages.
More than 80 percent of anti-aging diagnostics and therapeutics can be accomplished by a doctor of chiropractic. The chiropractic practice can offer the full complement if they partner with an MD or DO. One of the best ways for chiropractors to qualify in the anti-aging arena is to become a Diplomat of Anti-Aging Medicine, through the American Board of Anti-Aging Health Practitioners (ABAAHP). Founded in 1999, the ABAAHP program provides advanced education, representation and specialty recognition of health care practitioners - including DCs - who practice anti-aging medicine.
Doctors of chiropractic are also welcome to attend the upcoming Winter 2007 session of the Annual World Congresses on Anti-Aging Medicine and Regenerative Biomedical Technologies, co-sponsored by the A4M. Taking place in three sessions throughout the year, the congress is co-sponsored by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), among the world's fastest growing medical societies, growing from 12 doctors in 1993 to a current membership of 20,000-plus. At the upcoming Winter 2007 Session of the World Congress, the A4M will welcome more than 6,000 doctors from all medical specialties to the World Congress. Several hundred chiropractors will attend this conference, and you are invited to be among them. Event information, including the program, speaker biographies and online registration, is accessible at: www.worldhealth.net/event. You also can subscribe to a free e-mail newsletter that will help you stay up to date on the latest anti-aging research and information.
Learn how your practice can benefit from the anti-aging medical movement by contacting the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. The A4M is a nonprofit medical society dedicated to the advancement of technology to detect, prevent and treat aging-related disease, and to promote research into methods to retard and optimize the human aging process. A4M is also dedicated to educating doctors, scientists, and members of the public on biomedical sciences, breaking technologies, and anti-aging issues.
- The World Health Report 1998. www.who.int/whr/1998/en/index.html.
- Harvard Business Review, March 2004.
Ronald Klatz, MD, is the president of the American Academy of Anti-Aging (www.worldhealth.net), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, detection and treatment of aging-related disease.