The premise of Matka Medicine is that we can control our health, lengthen our healthspan and lifespan, and be atmasvasth, on our own, with just a little help, if at all, from doctors and the healthcare system. The very first article that I published last December explains this in detail. The article on atmasvasth takes this concept forward as does the one on healthspan. The site is structured like a loose book and the Index or Table of Contents and/or the Archives can help you navigate the site.
You can listen to the audio/podcast hosted on Soundcloud by clicking the Play button below within the browser itself.
It’s now been almost 8 months since I started Matka Medicine adding the concept of atmasvasth halfway through, as a way to live long, healthy.
While I still have a lot of ground to cover, it is time to take stock of what it entails to have a long healthspan and a healthy lifespan.
If this concise 13-point guide seems overwhelming…that is what living long, healthy entails. Most of us grow up believing that our health is not ours to manage, but should be left to experts like doctors and the healthcare system, which is fine when you are sick and ill, but of no help when you want to be free from disease.
We know more about our cars than we do about our own bodies and health. That needs to change.
- 150-300 minutes of moderate physical activity per week or 500-1000 mets per week. Walk, run, do strength training and mix it all up along with some high-intensity training (HIIT) at least once a week.
2. Eat smart, eat less
- Calories should be in check and less than or around 2000 per day.
- 5 portions of fruits and vegetables per day.
- Plant based eating as much as possible.
- Avoid ultra-processed foods and individual superfoods.
- Some form of fasting or calorie restriction, either time-restricted or intermittent, daily or once or twice a week.
3. Manage cardiovascular risk, including hypertension and diabetes
- The LDL should be less than or equal to 100 mg/dl and less than 70 mg/dl, if there is any risk factor.
- The blood pressure should be 130/80 mm Hg or less and definitely below 140/90 mm Hg.
- The HbA1c should be less than 5.6 with a fasting blood sugar less than 100 mg/dl.
- For these 3 points, if the values are abnormal, and if physical activity and eating sensibly do not bring them to normal, medication should be used after consulting an appropriate doctor.
- ECG yearly for cardiac issues, and definitely after 65 years of age for atrial fibrillation.
4. Sleep well
- Between 7-9 hours a day.
- If you snore, or are sleepy or groggy during the day, please see a sleep specialist.
5. Address deficiencies and take supplements
- Adequate proteins (at least 20% of the daily calorie intake and between 0.5 to 0.8 g / kg body weight) is needed. If your food doesn’t provide this, then supplements should be used.
- Vitamin D3 supplementation - 60,000 IU sachet at least once a month.
- Vitamin B12 supplementation, especially for vegans and Jains.
- Others such as omega-3, based on your individual situation.
- Protect from Covid-19, flu, zoster, DTP, pneumococcal and varicella.
- In the future, we will likely have vaccines for tuberculosis, dengue and malaria. They should be taken as and when available.
- Physical activity as in point 1.
- Balancing exercises with yoga or tai-chi, as part of the daily/weekly physical activity routine.
8. Screen for cancers
- Yearly mammography for all women above the age of 45 years.
- Lung cancer screening with low dose CT scan if you smoke or have been a smoker, yearly or once in two years, depending on the amount of smoking.
- Pap smear for cervical cancer every 5 years.
- Stool for blood for colorectal cancer. In India, colonoscopy is not yet advocated for routine screening.
- Physical examination once a year to look for lumps and bumps.
- DO NOT screen for other cancers, unless you are specifically genetically at high risk, in which case your oncologist will guide you.
9. Maintain good hygiene, including dental, vision, hearing and time
- Oral hygiene matters - see a dentist at least once in two years.
- Vision matters - see an ophthalmologist at least once in two years for cataract and macular degeneration.
- Good hearing is important - see a doctor if you can’t hear well and use appropriate hearing aids.
- Time - use your time wisely.
10. Prevent cognitive decline
- Apart from physical activity and eating smart and less, keep the mind active.
- Meditate - a stable mind helps reduce cardiovascular and other risks.
11. Reduce, control or eliminate addictions
- Drink alcohol sensibly, if you have to.
- Give up smoking completely, if you smoke.
- Control caffeine intake. Definitely no caffeine in any form at least four hours prior to bed time.
12. Reduce the pollution in our lives
- Air - in whichever way possible, including changing residence or migrating, if that is an option.
- Noise - use earphones when traveling but not when walking or driving. Don’t make noise, for e.g. don’t honk when you are driving.
- Digital - reduce dramatically the use of gadgets, and time spent on social media, unless that is your profession. Most of what we see on Twitter or Facebook or WhatsApp is just noise.
13. Manage the logistics of your health like you would manage any other major long-term project
- Make sure you have enough money to last till the age of 90 years, inclusive of catastrophic spending at least once in that timespan. Good financial planning and management are a must.
- Get good health insurance up to the maximum amount you can afford for yourself and the family.
- Identify a health coach who can guide you through points 1 to 12. The health coach does not have to be a doctor.
- Identify a good family physician you can reach out to when sick, to guide you through the process of meeting other specialists, navigating hospitals, making sense of different reports, etc.
- If you are lucky to know a good geriatric doctor, please see them once a year and definitely once in two years.
- Get a health check-up every year based on points 1 to 12, but also manage as much as you can on your own. Remember, in India, you don’t really need prescriptions for getting blood tests done.
This is a dynamic guide, which will change over the months and years with additions and subtractions as our understanding of how to live long, healthy advances and improves.
In case you know anyone who would benefit from reading this, especially above the age of 45-50 years, please do share. The site and all posts are free but subscription with an email ID is neeeded for most of the posts.
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