The Merck Manual of Health & Aging: The comprehensive guide to the changes and challenges of aging-for older adults and those who care for and about them
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"A VALUABLE RESOURCE FOR ANYONE WHO SEEKS A HEALTHIER OLD AGE FOR THEMSELVES OR THEIR LOVED ONES.”
–William D. Novelli, CEO, AARP
If aging were an open book, it would be The Merck Manual of Health & Aging. From one of the most trusted names in medical reference comes an accessible, all-inclusive guide for older adults that shares what measures to take to optimize the aging process, prevent disease, and improve your overall health. This comprehensive book also explains the health care system and the disorders seniors are most likely to experience. Inside you’ll discover clear, authoritative information on
• preventive medical care and good nutrition
• common medical disorders in older adults
• strategies for coping with disease
• steps for finding the best in medical care
• how to communicate with health care practitioners
• the role of alternative and complementary medicine
• the benefits and risks of medical tests
• the challenges of caregiving and rehabilitation
• how the body ages
• safe, easy-to-follow cardio exercises
• the social, legal, and ethical issues of aging
Also featuring candid essays by seniors who share their insights and personal experiences on growing older, The Merck Manual of Health & Aging is an essential home reference for making your later years truly golden.
“A VALUABLE RESOURCE FOR ANYONE WHO SEEKS A HEALTHIER OLD AGE FOR THEMSELVES OR THEIR LOVED ONES.”
–William D. Novelli, CEO, AARP
About the Author
Merck & Co., Inc. is one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. It is committed to bringing out the best in medicine and, as a part of that effort, continues to proudly provide all of its famous Merck Manuals on a not-for-profit basis as a service to the community. The organization published the first of these in 1899, and by the 1980s, the series had become the world's largest selling medical text and was translated into more than a dozen languages.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Aging begins the moment a person is born. A baby develops and matures into an adult. Then, at some point, the aging process changes. The person begins a decline in function that ultimately leads to death—what people usually think of as aging or growing old. The technical term for this decline in function that ends in death is “senescence.”
Science can provide information about changes in the body that lead to aging and death. Science can determine how some of the changes occur. But two basic mysteries remain: whether aging and dying have a purpose and, if so, what that purpose is. Throughout history, people have responded to these mysteries by searching for a “fountain of youth” that will prolong the time spent as vigorous, healthy young adults. And the search continues as researchers look for ways to slow or reverse the aging process.
Some progress has been made in the search. During the last century, life expectancy for people in the United States has greatly increased. As a result, what people consider to be old age has changed dramatically. Improvements in life expectancy occurred in two stages. First, death during childhood has become less likely, largely because sanitation has improved and because vaccines and treatments for childhood diseases, such as antibiotics, were developed. Second, disease and disability have become less likely to develop or have been postponed in older people because health care and approaches to prevention have improved. In spite of these improvements, even the healthiest and luckiest people do not live beyond about age 130.
Looking for the Fountain of Youth
Books about how to stay young and live longer abound. Almost everyone is interested in living a long life and looking and feeling young. No Ponce de Leons are traveling to new lands on a search for a magic fountain to restore their youth. However, researchers are looking at genes, cells, hormones, eating patterns, and other factors for c