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Solutions for transforming the elderly from a social liability into a social asset, the 2023 Nursing and Care Academic Conference, Dr. Wang's summit m

1 / 9 / 2024

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From November 10-13, 2023, the "2023 Nursing and Care Academic Conference" co-organized by the Chinese Geriatrics Society, Chengdu Medical College, and Chengdu's Eighth People's Hospital was grandly held at the Homeland International Hotel in Chengdu. The event, themed "Integrating Medical Care and Wellness to Support National Health," sought health solutions for China's aging society and its elderly population. Dr. Willy Wang, founder of Total Swiss, and Dr. Li Wenhui, a renowned doctor from Peking Union Medical College Hospital, were invited to participate. They, along with two other eminent doctors, sparked new perspectives and viable solutions in a summit forum that refreshed the medical community present. Here are highlights from the forum:

Ma Hongwu, member of the Chinese Geriatrics Society and head of Cardiology (Moderator): Today's discussion topic is designed from two aspects: first, chronic diseases from the perspective of diet; second, how the elderly can stop aging from the perspective of nutrition. As a cardiologist in a general hospital, managing blood sugar in diabetic patients is a main focus. It's really challenging to change their dietary habits. For instance, in Beijing's Hui Long Guan, a typical urban-rural area, the population has grown from 8,000 to 420,000 residents, many of whom have become overnight millionaires. When advising them to change their diet, they often respond, "I couldn't afford good food when I was young, and now that I can, you're telling me not to eat it? What's the point of living then?" Managing diet in chronic diseases is a big challenge. Professor Li from Peking Union Medical College Hospital, who specializes in endocrinology and deals with chronic diseases, could you share your thoughts on managing diet in these cases?

Professor Li Wenhui, Deputy Head of Endocrinology at Peking Union Medical College Hospital (Li): Thank you, Director Ma, for the invitation. As an endocrinologist for 30 years at Peking Union, we handle many severe cases from across the country. I've discovered a key insight: diabetes might seem like a blood sugar issue, but good blood sugar levels don't necessarily equate to good health. I was puzzled whether our medical judgment or the metrics we use were flawed, or if our recommendations were excessive. Patients often ask, "What can I eat?" When we tell them what they can't eat, there’s not much left for them. Our approach changes as we gain more experience; we know patients' dietary challenges are significant. Poor nutrition can lead to weakness and further complications like blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. Are we really treating patients by depriving them of energy? That’s the biggest dilemma I face.

Dr. Willy Wang, Founder of Total Swiss (Wang): My approach differs as I focus on basic human needs. We're often swayed by flashy advertising, thinking certain foods will improve our health. However, the body's needs are simple. As I mentioned this morning, cell health equals human health. We should consider what our cells need. Cells don't speak, so we have to analyze their content to understand their needs. Our bodies can't replace parts like a car can, and our cells have a finite lifespan, undergoing metabolism. Health, to me, is normal metabolism; abnormal metabolism signifies ill health. Why do cells become cancerous? There's no unified theory, but our research suggests it's due to oxygen deficiency. Oxygen is crucial for the body but often overlooked in nutrition discussions. Nutrition includes proteins, fats, sugars, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, but oxygen, essential for cell function, is often forgotten. Cells rely on oxygen delivered by red blood cells for energy production. The healthy human temperature is 36.5 degrees Celsius, maintained by cellular combustion. If your temperature stays at 36.5 degrees for 365 days, you're healthy. But if it rises for even a few days, that's a sign of ill health. Temperature is generated by cellular combustion, fueled by proteins, fats, sugars, and ignited by vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, with oxygen being indispensable. Deficiencies in oxygen transport can lead to health issues. Cells deprived of oxygen eventually die, but some survive by fermenting substrates to generate heat, avoiding further cooling and maintaining life in low oxygen conditions. These cells no longer need oxygen and become immortal, leading to cancer. These cancer cells, and their progeny, do not die, causing tumors as they crowd into limited space. Tumors, or cancers, do not attack us; they just grow, compressing space and competing for resources. With medical advancements, people are living longer, leading to more elderly patients and a societal panic about aging. But I believe the elderly are assets, not liabilities; it's disability that's a liability.

Committee Member Wu Dan: (Member of the Nursing and Care Subcommittee of the Chinese Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Geriatrician) I have been in geriatrics since 17 years ago, and I deeply resonate with the situations mentioned by the teachers earlier. With the progression of aging, the number of elderly people is increasing. Our hospital has 18 geriatric departments, with roughly less than 900 beds, and we are usually at full capacity.

As mentioned earlier, aging might begin at the cellular level, as Dr. Willy Wang said. We, in clinical practice, analyze it from the organ perspective. But if we look closer, at the cellular level, the judgment of whether an elderly person is ill or healthy may come down to their cellular health.

We have treated patients like a 104-year-old who developed pancreatitis from eating hard biscuits. Despite this, his overall condition was quite good, as his functions were relatively unaffected by the pancreatitis. However, we have also treated 50-year-olds who are already bedridden, as Dr. Wang mentioned, and have become disabled. Such disabilities are a significant blow to society and families. So, I've come to this conference with many questions, seeking advice from my seniors.

There are two questions I hope the teachers can help clarify: In geriatrics, the most important group are the elderly with chronic diseases like hypertension, hyperglycemia, and hyperlipidemia, often coupled with poor nutritional status and frequently suffering from malnutrition.

Although I have not formally studied nutrition, observation and tests show that about 80-90% of their nutritional status is not satisfactory.

First, I would like advice from the teachers on what to pay attention to regarding the nutrition and micronutrient supplementation for the elderly.

Also, what should we consider regarding the intake and metabolism of proteins for the elderly, especially in diabetic patients? I would appreciate some guidance from the teachers.

Professor Li: As the director mentioned, there's a general concept, at least in my personal practice treating diabetes, that nutrition should be liberalized for those over 60. Many people change their perception upon hearing about liberalized nutrition. In fact, it's good if they can eat at all. Often, their chewing and digestive abilities are already poor. At this point, if you say they can't eat this or that, what nutritional options can you provide to compensate?

Dr. Willy Wang: Chronic diseases are essentially aging. In Western medical terms, they are not considered diseases, so they are not called illness, sickness, or disease, but symptoms. These symptoms are unrelated to diseases.

However, Western medicine, focusing on treating diseases, tends to treat these as diseases. But theoretically, these chronic diseases are issues of nutritional imbalance.

In 2001, at the WHO conference of the United Nations, we learned that there are five, now six, nutritional imbalance syndromes. The first is surprisingly cancer. In our language, cancer is not called a disease but a 'syndrome.' Hypertension, osteoporosis, and diabetes are also called syndromes. This morning, we discussed that viewing these from a traditional Chinese medicine perspective could be more accurate, as they are inherently syndromes.

Eliminating these symptoms means the so-called 'disease' is cured. How to eliminate these symptoms? From a Western medicine perspective, the approach is suppression, preventing worsening, but Western medicine has long been unable to find a solution.

However, when approaching from a nutritional perspective, we find significant improvements because, as Westerners say, "You are what you eat." This morning I mentioned that eating beef makes you like a cow, even in temperament. Eating lamb makes you like a sheep, right?

Eating human flesh would make you more human, with more humanity, knowing gratitude and, of course, revenge. So eating human flesh is best, but of course, we can't eat human flesh.

So, how do we differentiate? What is the 'human flesh' we need? How do we define it?

We can compare beef, lamb, and pork. The difference lies in the amino acid ratio. They contain the same 22 amino acids, but in different proportions. If we adjust the protein's amino acid ratio to that of a healthy human, such protein would be greatly beneficial to humans.

My team and I are working hard in this direction, researching extensively, and have practically achieved it.

I say the elderly are assets, and disability is the liability. Sarcopenia, muscle loss, is a key factor in disability. Osteoporosis is not, as bones are wrapped in muscles. Strong muscles around osteoporotic bones pose little issue. Once muscles diminish, bones lack protection, and falls lead to fractures. That is the real cause of disability.

Therefore, supplementing protein can reduce many disabilities caused by sarcopenia. When a colleague asked where to start supplementing for sarcopenia, I believe the most important part is the calf. The calf muscle is the first to be lost and the last to grow. Problems with calf muscles affect walking, eventually leading to wheelchair use. Once in a wheelchair, other muscles start to atrophy, leading to loss of self-care ability.

So, whether a person will develop sarcopenia or become disabled can be gauged from the feet, starting with the calves. This is my experience, which I share with those dedicated to elderly care.

Host: Thank you, Dr. Willy Wang, Professor Li, and Director Wu, for sharing your experiences with nutrition and chronic diseases in the elderly. Especially how to eat well in the future.

Living is simple: eating, drinking, eliminating, and sleeping. But how to eat well is key. Especially for the elderly, as Professor Li mentioned, patients with renal insufficiency must strictly control protein intake.

Solving this is a challenge for us clinicians. Today, Dr. Willy Wang offered a feasible solution.

I heard that Dr. Willy Wang has always been committed to public welfare, deeply involved in grassroots health lectures, and spreading health knowledge. He knows the importance of changing residents' health through these lectures. This aligns with medical reform policies. With our 'Healthy China 2030' goal, the chronic disease prevention and control focus has shifted forward. The community is now the main battlefield for various chronic disease prevention and treatments.

Dr. Willy Wang's team also has a plan to delve into communities. Our next step is to launch this project, named 'Nutrition in the Right Way, Transmitting Health,' to spread health solutions in communities.

We invite Vice President Guo Huixiu of the Geriatric Medicine Society Care and Nursing Subcommittee and Professor Wang Weihong of the ICU at Peking Union Medical College Hospital to launch this project with us.

Vice President Guo Huixiu: (Vice President of the Care and Nursing Subcommittee of the Chinese Society of Geriatric Medicine)

Dear all, good afternoon. I am grateful to stand here today, first and foremost, thanks to Dr. Willy Wang. Without his support, we couldn't fully utilize our expertise to serve those in need of health.

When I first joined the company, Dr. Wang taught me two things: First, focus on people's bodily needs rather than their pockets; second, work with the heart, not just the brain.

That's why we say success comes from the heart, not just the mind. At the Beijing Zhongke Ankang International Medical Research Institute, we practice these teachings from start to finish.

We hope to join hands with colleagues from the Beijing Zhongke Ankang International Medical Research Institute to serve those in need of health with our professional and scientific methods and a rigorous attitude.

We contribute a little to our nation's health. We hope our institute can contribute our professional, compassionate efforts to everyone's health. Thank you all.

Today, Dr. Willy Wang has come to China, and I want to report the real achievements of the past seven years. There are three sisters here today who I have served for over seven years. I invite them to share briefly on stage.

First recipient of Director Guo's service: These years, Dr. Willy Wang has provided a correct solution for my health. I am grateful to Dr. Wang and thank Director Guo.

Second recipient of Director Guo's service: I am very thankful to Dr. Willy Wang and Director Guo. Your hard work has brought us health. I went from having hypertension to not needing medication anymore. Being this healthy at over 60 proves how great this solution is.

Third recipient of Director Guo's service: I am 66 years old. For the past 6 years, I have greatly benefited from the health solution. I hope everyone can obtain health solutions for their diminishing health.


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