#356 The Science of Longevity: Why Healthspan Matters More Than Lifespan with Dr Peter Attia
No one would argue that smoking is a killer. And no doctor would wait until a patient was showing early signs of cancer or heart disease before advising them to quit. Yet this is one of the few health scenarios where early prevention is given the evidence-based weight it deserves. Today’s guest believes that needs to change.
Dr Peter Attia is a medical doctor, a longevity expert and author of the brand new book Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity. He gained his medical degree at Stanford University, trained in general surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and was a surgical oncology fellow at the US National Cancer Institute. He’s also on the editorial board for the journal Aging and host of The Drive podcast, which covers health, medicine, and longevity.
Peter is not interested in reaching unheard-of age milestones or hitting birthdays in triple figures – unless he can do it with full vitality. He believes our focus needs to be on the quality of life we’re living; our healthspan rather than our lifespan.
We talk about the evolution of medicine and we discuss the limitations of current practice. Peter calls this ‘medicine 2.0’ and describes it as adept at dealing with ‘fast death' from trauma and infection. But it’s failing to counter our declining life expectancy or deal with the prevalence of chronic disease. Peter shares what he calls the ‘four horsemen’ of the health apocalypse – namely the 4 disease states, that will end up taking most of our lives: atherosclerosis, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and metabolic dysfunction.
Our objective, he says, should be to die ‘with’ disease, not ‘of’ disease and a huge part of Peter’s philosophy is about aggressively taking action to delay the onset of these four horsemen. But, to do that, we will need to take a different approach, which Peter calls, ‘medicine 3.0’. In our wide-ranging conversation, Peter shares which investigations and tests he thinks we should all be doing and he explains why when it comes to longevity, exercise is the most important area to focus on.
We also discuss the vital importance of emotional health and, Peter talks openly about his own struggles with extreme perfectionism and shares some of the tools that he uses daily to help. I loved having the opportunity to connect with Peter during this in-depth and enlightening chat. I hope you enjoy listening.
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Show notes https://drchatterjee.com/356
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