GCOA Report Examines the Role of Inflammation in the Aging Process, as an Indicator of Other Health Challenges, and as a Needed Focus of Integrated Care

Role of Healthy Aging Across the Life Course Spotlighted Today at Women Political Leaders (WPL) Summit

29 June 2021 – The Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) today released a report, A Proactive Approach to Healthy Aging: The Role of Inflammation Control & Integrated Care, which examines how targeting chronic inflammation and chronic inflammatory diseases (CIDs) can contribute to healthy aging around the world. The report’s findings were highlighted at Women Political Leaders (WPL) Summit 2021 today during a panel titled “WPL Policy Toolkit – Women’s health through their life-course.

“There is an emerging understanding among aging experts that focusing on chronic inflammation across the life course offers a way to lower the risk of key age-related conditions – often appearing as NCDs – and help people preserve their functional ability as they age,” said Melissa Gong Mitchell, Executive Director of GCOA, who spoke at the WPL panel. “This is especially critical for women, who are disproportionately affected by many of these conditions and bear the brunt of eldercare and childcare responsibilities, often correlating with physical, mental and financial health implications.”

The report offers an important new lens to inform global and national health policy on the biology of aging in the context of the 21st-century megatrend of aging. It calls for more attention to, further research into and increased leadership for action on the relationship between health innovation and the impact of chronic inflammation and healthier aging.

Aligning with the UN and World Health Organization’s Decade of Healthy Ageing and its focus on integrated care, the report examines how early detection and intervention for chronic inflammation can reduce or reverse damage accrual and lower risk for age-related conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Chronic inflammatory diseases—such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, and axial spondylarthritis (AxSpa)—offer test cases and starting points for this approach. By bringing greater urgency to better monitoring, earlier detection and diagnosis, more effective treatment is likely to follow, with positive effects on the process of aging. Moreover, health systems can seize an important opportunity to underpin healthier aging, especially for women who often face disparities in disease burden and care. This can lead to greater health systems’ preparedness and resilience and therefore better fiscal management.

The report concludes with a series of recommended actions on inflammation and CIDs for healthy aging, including health system responses, research and innovation, and societal responses.

“We congratulate WPL for showcasing the importance of policy action on women’s health and the connection to healthy aging,” said Mitchell. “And we invite global organizations, national leaders, and health system decision-makers to consider these steps as we move forward in the Decade of Healthy Ageing.” The report is now available on GCOA’s website and was made possible by support from GCOA member company UCB.

Join the live broadcast of the Women Political Leaders panel at 8:00 EDT / 14:00 CEST today by clicking here. WPL is the global network of female politicians aimed at exchanging ideas and bolstering women in political leadership positions.

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