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The Science of Longevity: Why Healthspan Matters More Than Lifespan with Dr Peter Attia

by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee   /  April 26, 2023

No one would argue that smoking is a killer. And no doctor would wait until a patient was showing early signs of cancer or heart disease before advising them to quit. Yet this is one of the few health scenarios where early prevention is given the evidence-based weight it deserves. Today’s guest believes that needs to change.

Dr Peter Attia is a medical doctor, a longevity expert and author of the brand new book Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity. He gained his medical degree at Stanford University, trained in general surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and was a surgical oncology fellow at the US National Cancer Institute. He’s also on the editorial board for the journal Aging and host of The Drive podcast, which covers health, medicine, and longevity.

Peter is not interested in reaching unheard-of age milestones or hitting birthdays in triple figures – unless he can do it with full vitality. He believes our focus needs to be on the quality of life we’re living; our health span rather than our lifespan.

We begin our conversation by talking about the evolution of medicine. Without being critical of doctors, who are all trying to do their best with the models they have, we discuss the limitations of current practice. Peter calls this ‘medicine 2.0’ and describes it as adept at dealing with ‘fast death’, from trauma and infection. But it’s failing to counter our declining life expectancy or deal with the prevalence of chronic disease. Peter shares what he calls the ‘four horsemen’ of the health apocalypse – namely the 4 disease states, that will end up taking most of our lives: atherosclerosis, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and metabolic dysfunction.

Our objective, he says, should be to die ‘with’ disease, not ‘of’ disease and a huge part of Peter’s philosophy is about aggressively taking action to delay the onset of these four horsemen. But, to do that, we will need to take a different approach, which Peter calls, ‘medicine 3.0’

In our wide-ranging conversation, Peter shares which investigations and tests he thinks we should all be doing and he explains why when it comes to longevity, exercise is the most important areas to focus on. 

We also discuss one of my big passions, the vital importance of emotional health and, Peter talks openly about his own struggles with extreme perfectionism and shares some of the tools that he uses daily to help.

I loved having the opportunity to connect with Peter during this in-depth and enlightening chat. Peter is someone who has a very analytical mind and he uses it, to take a practical and logical approach to health and wellbeing. I very much enjoyed speaking to him, I hope you enjoy listening.

Disclaimer: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.*

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Watch the video version of the conversation here:

Connect with Dr Attia:

Website     The Drive Podcast      Instagram

Twitter      YouTube      Facebook

Dr Attia’s book:

Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity

Related Feel Better Live More Episodes:

#338 The Secrets To Living Your Longest, Healthiest Life with Dr Mark Hyman

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*DISCLAIMER: Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.

†Disclosure: All books marked with a † are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We take part in Amazon’s affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon’s website. You are not charged any extra by using these links to purchase books.

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee MbChB, BSc (Hons), MRCP, MRCGP