Important Terms in Anti-Aging Medicine
Anti-aging medicine is a relatively new field of study involved in countering the damaging effects of aging. Considered a form of alternative medicine, it has gained world-wide interest in recent years. There are a great many products sold to counteract the aging process, including creams that can hide or remove wrinkles. In addition the cosmetic aspects of aging, the field also deals with increasing the human lifespan. As you research anti-aging medicine, you may encounter some terms and concepts with which you may be unfamiliar, so we'll define the more common ones here.
Dietary supplement - Vitamins or minerals added to food, usually in the form of pills or capsules, intended to supply nutrients that cannot be found in adequate quantities in a conventional meal. Though believed by many to aid in health, their value is disputed and they should be used only with care.
Gerontology - The study of the aging process in its various social and biological aspects. Though a fairly new discipline, it is the subject of increasing world-wide attention. Biogerontology is a sub-discipline that deals solely with the physical health effects of aging. It is considered distinct from geriatrics, the study of the medical aspects of old age.
Hormone therapy - A controversial alternative medical treatment believed to increase one's lifespan. It is used on menopausal and postmenopausal women.
Free radicals - Molecules in the body that cause cell damage. Some authorities believe that the organic damage caused by free radicals is largely responsible for the aging process, and it can be at least partly counteracted with vitamin supplements.
Antioxidant - A molecule believed to reverse the damage brought about by free radicals. Antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E.