My Scottish friend Pamela taught me much about George Burns. A good Burns quote I learned was that “You can’t help getting older, but you do not have to get old.”
The definition of old is becoming increasingly fluid. There is no typical ‘old’ any longer. It is now common to see an 80-year-young person, caring for another 68-year-old one. At the biological level, aging results from the impact of molecular and cellular damage over time that leads to a gradual decrease in physical and mental capacity, increased frailty and finally death. But what does it take to reach numerically higher age, but not getting old as fast? Not just living longer, but living healthier till the last day?
We have discussed in another post how the aging population is growing and how the world will see approximately 30 million more people aged 60 and above every year for the next 30 years. It is not difficult to estimate that about half of these 30 million people are women. Does the old now-modern adage of “what is good for the goose is good for the gander” apply equally to men and women? The answer is no: women’s life-course differs from men’s, at least on biological grounds. Women live, on average, longer than men and while men also go through andropause, the impact of estrogen-deficiency creates a very different impact on women during and post-menopause.
Consider some eye-popping statistics:
Approximately 6,000 women in the US reach menopause each day
An estimated 43 million women in the US are post-menopausal
The median age of menopause is 51 years in the US, meaning women spend more than a third of their lives post-menopause, the third when they normally have more spendable income for themselves
According to the North American Menopause Society, 75% of women experience symptoms of post-menopausal distress, which can include hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, mood changes, dry skin, lower libido, and vulvar and vaginal atrophy
Recognizing that women's overall wellness can be improved through treating skin and mucosal disorders associated with menopause is very important. It impacts how women feel about themselves, helps improve the skin barrier, improves sexual wellbeing and will even lead to better cognitive behavior as social interaction improves.
It goes without saying that we are investing in and actively monitoring solutions to improving the quality of life and well-being of aging women. Some of these solutions tied to post-menopausal women include the active re-densifiers of collagen, called SPARCs. Or-Genix Therapeutics aims to develop SPARCs to address symptoms associated with senile vaginitis, vulvar rejuvenation, senile purpura, skin fragility and itching and simply wrinkling.
Another portfolio company, CoreMedica Labs, hopes to use dry-blood monitoring to reveal early signs of diseases associated with aging and to even monitor the micronutrients needed to help delay the onset of aging damage.
Finally, you can look your age, but not have to look or feel old.
Humberto Antunes, Partner