Jane Brody in The New York Times:
The quest for a fountain of youth is many centuries old and marred by many false starts and unfulfilled promises. But modern medical science is now gradually closing in on what might realistically enable people to live longer, healthier lives — if they are willing to sacrifice some popular hedonistic pleasures. Specialists in the biology of aging have identified a rarely recognized yet universal condition that is a major contributor to a wide range of common health-robbing ailments, from heart disease, diabetes and cancer to arthritis, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. That condition is chronic inflammation, a kind of low-grade irritant that can undermine the well-being of virtually every bodily system.
Chronic inflammation occurs to varying degrees with advancing age in all mammals independent of any existing infection. Researchers call it “inflammaging.” As Roma Pahwa of the National Cancer Institute and Dr. Ishwarlal Jialal of California Northstate University put it in a recent report, “Although chronic inflammation progresses slowly, it is the cause of most chronic diseases and presents a major threat to the health and longevity of individuals.” However, recent studies have identified measures potentially available to everyone that can minimize the potency of chronic inflammation and stymie — and possibly even reverse — its progression. The measures will come as no surprise to people familiar with the healthful advice that has been offered in this column for many years: Adopt a wholesome diet (details to follow), get regular exercise, avoid or reduce excess weight, get adequate quality sleep, minimize stress and don’t smoke.