When I heard the announcer say there was going to be a trial of a new way of lowering blood pressure without pharmaceutical intervention, I listened more carefully. My numbers are not terribly high, but enough that a doctor has prescribed pills to keep my pressure low and I would like to cease ingesting the drug.
So I was interested in participating in this trial of altering sleep habits to lower blood pressure. My enthusiasm waned when the announcer stated the top age limit for the trial was sixty-five. This was not the first time I heard that magic number as the upper age for joining in a study.
I am well over that cutoff point as I approach my seventy-fourth birthday this summer. I don’t like to think of myself as old, but examples like the one I am mentioning remind me that the medical community views the numbers differently. Are people over sixty-five not worth studying? Don’t our experiences count?
Apparently not and I must resign myself to the baggage of older age, like not being significant in medical trials of experimental new therapies. As our population ages, it would seem to be useful to examine the effects of new drugs or behaviors meant to extend our lives or at least improve the quality of the years we have left.
Maybe I am just growing into a grouchy old lady looking for something to complain about. But I view my concerns as legitimate and worth examining. Maybe, someday I will learn about a study including the elder edge of the population or perhaps that will happen when it is too late to benefit from the results of the study.
At sixty-five most people are still working and not considered(at least by me) to be old. Why not widen the spread of ages participating in new theories of ways of dealing with the infirmities of growing older and open the gates to those of us still young enough to want to extend and improve the quality of our lives? Is anybody listening?