Advancements in medicine are making life better and longer for senior citizens. Here are some of the crucial advances, especially for seniors.
“Over the past two decades, widespread interest in RNA-based technologies (Ribonucleic acid) for developing prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines has increased. Interest heightened during preclinical and clinical trials, which revealed mRNA vaccines provide a safe and long-lasting immune response in humans,” according to a new report. It notes that the COVID pandemic helped speed up the process of designing and producing virus-specific vaccines.
Think about it. A COVID vaccine was developed, produced, approved and deployed to combat the deadly disease that was upending our world in a year’s time. It took researchers some 23 years, from 1930 to 1953, to produce the polio vaccine.
The Cleveland Clinic analysis concluded that RNA-Based technology “has the potential to be used to eliminate some of healthcare’s most challenging diseases quickly and efficiently. While the technology is not new, COVID-19 unlocked the power of mRNA vaccines, and we are entering a new frontier in fighting disease.”
Meanwhile, the older men get, the more likely they are to develop prostate cancer. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says “prostate cancer is the most common malignancy among elderly men and is the second leading malignancy in the Western world. The incidence of prostate cancer has steadily increased over the last decade. Between 2000 and 2050, the number of men over 65 years is expected to increase 4-fold worldwide.”
The Cleveland Clinic says that early detection is the key to successfully dealing with prostate cancer and that new imaging technology has been developed that offers faster, more dependable scanning. It’s called PMSA PET, short for prostate-specific membrane antigen position emission tomography. “Experts anticipate the PET-tracer procedure will soon become the new standard of care for detecting prostate cancer metastasis.”
Finally, about 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes. For those lucky enough to be diabetes free and don’t have a friend or family member with the disease, here’s how the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describes the disease: “Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Most people’s bodies naturally produce the hormone insulin, which helps convert sugars from the food we eat into energy that the body can use or store for later. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make insulin or doesn’t use its insulin well, causing your blood sugar to rise. High blood sugar levels can cause serious health problems over time.”
Dealing with the disease requires self-discipline, the ability to stick to a specific diet and adherence to a specific regimen of medical treatment. Most people with type 2 diabetes inject themselves with insulin once a day. In some cases, they might need two shots a day, says the American Diabetes Association.
However, a new drug, Tirzepatide, is a once-a-week injectable designed to control blood sugar for those suffering from type 2 diabetes. According to the pharmacists at GoodRx, it’s the first in a new class of medications. It’s produced by Eli Lilly, which has high hopes that Tirzepatide will achieve FDA approval; the drug is currently in phase 3 clinical trials, the results of which are said to have been positive.
The pandemic played havoc with life span statistics. Americans were living longer and better consistently until the COVID outbreak. The life expectancy in 1946 when the first baby boomers were born stood at 64.4 years for men and 69.4 for women. Seven decades later, in 2016, men were living to the ripe old age of 71-plus years and women were living to 81.1 years. A recent study conducted by the Social Security Administration reports that by 2050 men will live to be 80 years old on average and women will live to be 85-plus thanks to the miracle of modern medicine.
John Grimaldi contributes occasional columns for the Association of Mature American Citizens. The 2 million member AMAC is a senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. They act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.