Why does Fusion want to classify aging as a disease? This policy is the product of consultation with forward-looking health professionals and organisations. It does not mean that everyone over a certain age has a disease!
Read on for more. Read the policy here: https://www.fusionparty.org.au/future_focused
Part 1 - About Health
The most important point here is that this is more about duration of health in life, or "healthspan", than total life duration. Lifespan is how long you live, healthspan is how long you are healthy, functional, capable and unburdened by the deteriorating effects of aging that gradually rob a person of their ability to live their life to the fullest, learn new things, adapt to change, and endure misfortune.
Many of the health impacts that afflict people as they age are triggered or encouraged by specific things which break down in the body due to the collection of processes which we define as "aging". Once they've been triggered, many of them are effectively there to stay. No going back.
These things are the primary cause of suffering for people as they get older. Things like arthritis, thin skin, brittleness, deteriorating eyesight. These contribute to muscle wastage, loss of coordination etc. etc.
And yet these are not the things that kill people - leading causes are lung cancer, coronary heart disease, dementia, cerebrovascular disease etc.
Treating these symptoms of aging is expensive, and only minimally effective at reducing that suffering. People live longer than ever before now, and they also spend a larger percentage of their life suffering from avoidable ailments as well.
Treating the aging process itself is unlikely to make people live much longer, but it can prevent or greatly limit most of the causes of suffering while old. This is what is meant by "prevent aging".
Part 2 - About Treatment Regulations
Now the thing is, we have many different medications that actually can be used to reduce the effects of aging, and prevent that suffering from occurring. They exist to treat various specific things obviously, but can have secondary anti-aging effects.
However, doctor's are not allowed to prescribe medication to someone just "for being old". An actual problem needs to be diagnosed first.
"Classifying aging as a disease" is the critical regulatory step that allows doctors to proactively prescribe medications to people (if they want them) to 'treat' aging, and prevent those conditions which cause age-related suffering from ever arising or advancing.
Part 3 - Population Planning
In our developed world people are having children later, they're raising families later, they're working into older ages. Due to additional factors, that also leads to a shrinking population.
Allowing people to be healthier, happier, and fitter into old age prepares society to better handle all the pressures placed upon it in our modern world, and also help it to sustain an equilibrium.
For a long time the medical field has been focused on extending life. Now we're blessed by longer, but burdened by overall less healthy lives.
At the end of the day it's not likely to make people live much longer. Maybe people live 10 years longer, who knows? We won't really know until we try, but the same things that kill people at an advanced age are still going to be the leading causes, and they're not going to be significantly affected.
But this is how we need to support healthcare in the aging population - to reduce suffering. After all, there's not much point being able to live to 100 if you're only going to be fit and healthy (as an adult) for less than half of it.
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