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Do you look markedly younger than your age?

Discussion in 'General Symptoms' started by fresh_eyes, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. Martlet

    Martlet Senior Member

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    I had a colonoscopy towards the end of last year, with deep sedation, which required an anaesthetist. Anyway, there I was all prepped up and just waiting for the doctor to come in and do his deed when the anaesthetist entered my age into a computer. "Fifty-nine," he mumbled, then louder "I would never have thought it." One of the nurses piped up, "I'm thinking the same thing."

    Until then, I just thought that when people told me I look younger than my age, that they were not looking closely enough. But in this case, I was being looked at very closely indeed.
     
  2. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    I hadn't heard looking young is connected to neurasthenia.. isn't that just another name for CFS?

    I've always looked way too young for my age. People constantly comment and sometimes freak out about it. I'm adopted so I don't know what age relatives lived to. I have the CFS that makes me catch everything that comes around all year long. I also still have a baby tooth!

    I sure hope I don't live a long life with this. :In bed:
     
  3. gracenote

    gracenote All shall be well . . .

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    No, not a long life with THIS, but a long newly HEALTHY life. We shall hope.
     
  4. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

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  5. This is so weird, because I have exactly the same thing. People always think I am younger than I actually am and have done for a long time. It causes me difficulty winning contracts because people don't believe I could be an MD of a half decent business at the age I look...

    So here goes, a little experiment. How old would you say I am from looking at my avatar? First gut reaction...
     
  6. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    Mid-twenties. First reaction. Between 24 and 27.
     
  7. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    38?


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  8. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    What an interesting thread!

    I have been told this since my early 20s. Usually my age is guessed 10-15 years too low. What's up with this? My daughter who has CFS is in her mid 20s and is often taken for a teenager.

    So this goes back to Neurasthenia? That makes so much sense, particularly given what we know now about genetics and CFS. My grandmother died last year at age 98, and she looked maybe 10 years younger than her age up until near the end. My mother now in her 70s looks also 10 years younger by most conventions.

    If we look younger, then perhaps we are aging more slowly. Might that be why our stress handling system suddenly breaks down? Are we taking on high adult-level stress loads in bodies that are in some ways not mature enough for that yet? Do our well-developed minds simply 'out spend' the capacity of our bodies, leading to the neuroendocrine and immune melt-downs?
     
  9. kit

    kit

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    thefreeprisoner,

    My first reaction to your picture was also mid-twenties.

    Kurt, those are interesting questions. I feel like we're on to something here, I wish I knew how to make sense of it.
     
  10. fresh_eyes

    fresh_eyes happy to be here

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    Well, the neurasthenia doctors might agree with this - neurasthenics were generally advised not to read too much or think too hard! My money, though, is on a retrovirally-induced epigenetic change that turns on that longevity gene. Pure speculation, of course.
     
  11. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    Maybe somehow longevity genes are activated. One test of that would be to ask about the siblings of PWC. If you have siblings, are they aging at a normal rate, or do they also look perpetually young? In my case I have three sisters and a brother. I am the oldest and at this point (in mid-life) they are aging much faster than I appear to be, in fact I might pass for the youngest. One of my sisters looks younger than her age, and she is the one who also has some health problems. My brother is 8 years younger than me and looks several years older than I am.

    What about others here? Do siblings also look younger?
     
  12. Tammie

    Tammie Senior Member

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    I, too, get told I look a lot younger....I am going to be 38 on the 26th of this month and as recently as last April I had a couple of separate people mistake me for someone in high school (I have not really been out in public much at all since then, otherwise I think I would still be getting that response) - these were total strangers and they were trying to help when I needed medical attention, so they were not simply trying to flatter me

    ....I do still get carded, too, at the grocery store, although I do not buy alcohol much anymore, bc it usually doesn't taste rt anymore and my tolerance tends to vary dramatically

    .....I also completely shocked someone (no way he was faking the expression on his face - it was pretty funny) when I said something about having been a runner for 25 yrs (that was a couple of yrs ago when I was still struggling to keep running, and it was totally killing me) he made some comment that in order to have been running for that long I would have had to have been a runner before I was born....and he really thought I was trying to pull one over on him when I insisted that my age was what it was

    one would think that this would be flattering, but it actually can be a bit embarrassing.....well it could when I had a semblance of a life (prior to the CFS getting really bad)....it made it hard for people to believe that I could possibly have any life experience, which was sometimes a problem when in a working environment.....and it was a bit embarrassing when I was out with friends (or worse a guy I was seeing) and others thought I was with parents (of course, it was more embarrassing for them!)

    it was fun when my younger brother (who is sensitive about his age, though I think that we are both still relatively young) was mistaken for my older brother (I had a lot of fun rubbing that one in)

    as to theories, one I heard had to do with the higher levels of H2S that many of us have.....since it's the same chemical responsible for hibernation in animals, the theory was that it did something to slow our aging process

    I have to say that I agree with someone else, thoguh (forgot who, sorry) who said that he/she would not want to live a long time with this....if there is a cure or good treatments, I would like to live longer to make up for lost time, but if things stay this bad or get worse, I am so ready to be done with this life
     
  13. fresh_eyes

    fresh_eyes happy to be here

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    Hi Kurt. Whenever I'm with my 2 younger sisters (7 & 10 yrs younger) people ask who is the oldest. It's very strange, since we look very much alike, and all the 'sociological' cues seem similar (the way we dress, our manner) - they're just aging much faster than I am. I'm surprised that many here have similar stories.

    This thread has proven to be very interesting. Perhaps this is part of why many of us have trouble being taken seriously by doctors. (And by others, as somebody mentioned - professionally, people still treat me like a kid and ask if I'm in college!)

    ETA On buying alcohol - it's always for my husband only - unfortunately I can't tolerate more than a beer every few months or so.
     
  14. kit

    kit

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    It's a good thing then that I'm not an early 20th century neurasthenic. Being advised to not think too much WHILE not having the vote? That really would've steamed me.

    My siblings seem to all be aging typically and look older to much older than me. I have two aunts though that did, and still do, look young. I can remember my one aunt telling me how relieved she was that she went gray rapidly at forty. . . she was so tired of people thinking she was a college student. I know the feeling!

    Tammie, I hear this. I'm not suicidal, but if it never gets any better than this and my now rapidly aging body gives out, I am ready. More than this I want to get better and have some life again, but sometimes I feel like I'm already in my 90s looking back over my life, waiting to go, and I just have to say, okay, that was it. I expected more, I wanted more, but. . . okay.
     
  15. Terri

    Terri Guest

    I have always looked younger than my age, by at least 10 - 15 years. (More like 10 years younger now, 15 years up until a year or so ago - it is catching up! :D This was also a problem for me professionally, no one would take me seriously.

    My siblings do not look younger than their age and they also do not have CFS.

    My mother lived to be 76 and she always looked young for her age, I don't think she had CFS but she did have severe RA after she turned 60. She also had thyroid and gallbladder issues and some pretty heavy duty depression issues. I know this has nothing to do with looking younger but I think she would have lived a lot longer without all the RA drugs (and the drugs to get rid of the side effects from the RA drugs) and the depression issues.

    On my dad's side, I have 2 aunts that look 20 years younger than they are. They are amazing. My dad passed away at 59 from colon cancer, but before he got sick he looked pretty young.

    As far as getting sick a lot with colds and such, Before the CFS/FM I was really healthy. Now I find that as long as I am not working a full time stressful job or am not under a lot of stress (I'm down to about 10 hours a week) I stay pretty healthy.
     
  16. klutzo

    klutzo Senior Member

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    For whomever asked about one side of the face commonly being different in Lyme Disease, you are correct. The right side of my face has not only slid downwards, it is also shrinking compared to the left, and I know many others with this problem. It often results from Bell's Palsy, which can be a red flag for Lyme, but not always. In my case, it's due to the brain damage.

    I must be the exception that proves the rule here. I looked very young before the illness, but now look much older. I look so different that people who have not seen me for awhile have walked right past me, or even worse, have said: "Oh my God, what happened to you?!"

    I once had a very old lady come up to me in the grocery store and ask me if I needed help because I looked very sick to her.That was embarrassing!

    My hair started both falling out and turning gray overnight when I got this, even though I was only 34 at the time. I gained 50 lbs. in the first two months, while eating less. I colored my hair, but stopped 6 yrs. ago because the my body could not longer tolerate the toxicity of the dye and too much hair was falling out. I have a lot more hair now, but having gray hair in a part of the country where most women dye their hair until they are 80 automatically makes me look older by comparison. One friend said I look younger with my gray hair, but that is because it is now shoulder length instead of waist length like before.

    I have all kinds of illnesses that really old people get. My varicose veins look worse than my 85 yr. old MIL, for example. Research shows the body of the average Fibromyalgia patient is 25 yrs. older than her chronological age. Have you all stumbled upon a significant difference between FMS and CFS here?

    I can't speak to neurasthenia, since I never learned much about it in school. Even back when I was in college, in the age of the dinosaurs, neurasthenia was considered an old-fashioned, and inaccurately vague diagnosis. I can tell you that schizophrenics typically have dramatically slowed aging, starting at the age they became ill and often end up looking younger than their children when they get really old. This is thought to be due to lack of stress; when you are out of touch with reality, you don't worry about all the stuff the rest of us do. Of course, that does not apply to CFS, since most of us worry just like everyone else, and those of us with Lyme often have a rumination problem, where we can't stop worrying things over and over in our minds.

    klutzo
     
  17. fresh_eyes

    fresh_eyes happy to be here

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    This is such an interesting thread! I didn't know that schizophrenics age slower:

    Attributing it to lack of stress seems like a reach. Schizophrenics I've known (and I've known some - for years I worked at a homeless shelter) may not worry about "real life" issues, but they certainly worry a lot, and seem to live in a state of fear and anxiety much of the time. I'd say being schizophrenic seems quite stressful.
     
  18. Lily

    Lily *Believe*

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    I do believe you have the education here klutzo and must be right on this, but I thought schizophrenics do not age emotionally after their first psychotic break, which for males is often in late teens or twenties? However, I can't go with their break from reality as keeping them from worrying about stuff as we do. The one I know has been so consumed with paranoia and frantically worried all the time, extremely anxious. Also his hallucinations are very threatening, not pleasant ones. The particular young man I am thinking of has not been medicated well over the years, so that may be part of it - he's only just turned 30 and in the last couple of years his hair is rapidly turning grey. He also seems to walk and move like a much older man - this I thought may be due from the meds. It's been very sad to watch. Emotionally, he still seems about 16. So sad.
     
  19. klutzo

    klutzo Senior Member

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    Hi Lily and fresheyes,
    I think we are in agreement. It is just semantics that may make it seem otherwise. The stopping of emotional maturation at the onset of the problem, which btw, also occurs with addicts, can allow for a child-like lack of worry. Onset is usually in the teens, just as you stated. Many teens feel invincible, even immortal, as witnessed by their driving and drinking habits, among other things. At any rate, they are not worrying about adult things like mortgage payments, utility bills, car payments, putting kids through college, etc. All of those things are stressful and aging. People who become schizophrenia at this age will never worry about those things, with the possible exception of those who have mild Hebephrenic schizophrenia.

    There are 3 types of schizophrenia. A paranoid schizophrenic who is unmedicated could indeed end up like the man you speak of, but that is the exception, IME as a psychiatric social worker. Compliance with medication is a major problem in a society where protective institutionalization is now considered cruel. I think being left on your own to sleep under a bridge is far crueler and will definitely age you.

    People who are properly medicated as a rule tend to look much younger than their age, but of course you are correct and there are exceptions to everything. Paranoids are the most severely out of touch with reality of the 3 types, but I have seen many of them looking 20 yrs. younger than they are if medicated, and even if not medicated, since many of them also have a flat affect, so they don't react with the emotion of the man you mentioned. He sounds like a very sad case.

    Schizophrenia is a bit OT though and I am sorry I went OT. We were talking about neurasthenia and how some people used to say this is what CFS used to be called. I sincerely hope we are past that now, since neurasthenia is strictly a psychological disorder, or at least it was in my days in school. I am almost 59. Please correct me if I am wrong, but there is so little research pinning down what neurasthenia actually is/was that one could just as easily make a case that it is due to Rheumatic heart disease or some other illness with similar symptoms. I read a whole paper once about how neurasthenia was also known as "the vapors" and was caused by the too tight corsets they used to wear to make their waists look small, which resulted in not being able to breathe properly!

    Regards,
    klutzo
     
  20. Lily

    Lily *Believe*

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    Yes, I went OT, at the mention of schizophrenia - the young fellow I spoke of has been such a heart-break to watch. I appreciate your knowledge and experience. Thanks, Klutzo;)
     

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