Age, what is age? Age is a period that defines years of one’s childhood, teenage, adult time, the mature time, and the old age. This age defines our lifetime and the experience that we gained from this.
What is aging?
Aging is a beautiful process where you grow into something better day by day. Aging is the most wonderful and most important part of a person’s life. As we grow, we learn things, we never stop learning, we always learn from something whether intentionally or unintentionally. We learn we read, we write and we repeat, this process of life is known as aging.
We age and we notice changes in our body specifically in our voice, hairs, facial features, limbs, etc. Those strands of gray hair are an indicator that we have done enough in our lives and now it’s time to sit back and relax, they tell us that we’re getting older and our bodies are changing. We may grow a little rounder around the waistline, or wake in the night, or feel a little stiffer in the morning because of the aging and this will continue to grow.
We shouldn’t think of aging as a failure of our bodily systems, says Kenneth Minaker, MD, chief of geriatric medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Aging is a life-saving process,” he says. “It is a process of lifelong adaptation to prevent us from developing cancers that would kill us.”
Natural changes in cells and other organs may slow them down or alter their capacity, he says. Most people reach their peak functioning at around age 30.
You notice changes in stamina, strength, or sensory perception as you grow older. But these can vary based on your personal health choices, your medical history, and your genetics. “Our life, our rules” yes we live by that, but these rules should be beneficial to your health. When you age, you only have yourself for everything you are feeling. So you need to take care of yourself by staying healthy and by adopting a method to do so.
The aging process is beautiful, let us see what happens when we age:
- Teenagers lose the young child’s ability to do everything.
- Wrinkles develop particularly affecting sun-exposed areas like the face.
- After peaking in the mid-20s, female fertility declines, her beauty starts to diminish a bit.
- After age 30, the mass of the human body starts decreasing then shows damping oscillations.
- Muscles have a reduction in the capacity of responding to exercise or injury and loss of muscle mass and strength which is common.
- VO2 minimum and maximum heart rate decline.
- People over 35 years of age are at increased risk of losing strength in the eye muscles which makes it difficult to watch close objects.
- Most people experience eye problems by age 45–50. The cause is lens hardening by decreasing levels of α-crystallin.
- Around age 50, hair turns grey. Pattern hair loss by the age of 50 affects about 30–50% of males and a quarter of females.
- Menopause typically occurs between 44 and 58 years of age.
- In the 60–64 age cohort rises to 53%. Only 20% however report disabling osteoarthritis at this age.
- Almost half of the people older than 75 have hearing loss inhibiting spoken communication.
- Many vertebrates such as fish, birds, and amphibians do not suffer presbycusis in old age as they can regenerate their cochlear sensory cells, whereas mammals including humans have genetically lost this ability.
- By age 80, more than half of all old either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
- And when the time comes, everything in the body stops working and then, death happens.
Why do we age?
We age because we grow. We grow in every manner, age, height, weight, and soon. We age because this is the truth about our lives. This is an integral part of our life span.
In the US we can expect to live to about 77 years old on average, and the oldest person on record lived to be 122 years old.
To answer these questions, we need to understand what happens to our bodies as we age. Are we programmed to live a certain number of years or do we wear out over time? These are two main theories of why we live as long as we do.
In the first, our genes determine how long we live. We have our genes that tell our body how long it will live. If you could change that particular gene, we could live longer.
The second theory is that over time, our body and our DNA get damaged until we can no longer function properly, so how long we last is just a consequence of small changes in our DNA. These changes add up until the total amount of damage is too much to bear and we die.
This theory determines how to push the limits of aging. Reality is a combination of these two ideas. In the past decade, scientists have found evidence to support both theories.
Work in animals, in particular in worms, has shown that mixing certain genes can increase lifespan about 4-fold. For humans, that would translate to about 300 years old. These results would seem to support that there are genes that determine how long we live.
Of course, if those genes are involved in fixing the damage that comes with aging, then the data would support the second model. The gene that is mutated is thought to be involved in DNA maintenance.
Other work shows that eating fewer increases how long animals will live. Although the reason for the increase in lifespan is unclear at this point, scientists have proposed that it has to do with decreasing DNA and cellular damage. Still, other work suggests that cells can divide only a certain number of times. This is because of DNA at the end of chromosomes called telomeres that get shorter with each division. When they run out, the cell dies.
As you can see, trying to understand aging is a challenge but still, we study this because this is about us and we want to know everything related to us and our lives.