Why Do We Age, and Can Anything Be Done to Stop or Slow it? - Deepstash

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Types of aging

Types of aging

Aging can be categorized into two types and due to two types of factors, intrinsic and extrinsic.

  • Intrinsic aging is a genetically predetermined process that occurs naturally.
  • Extrinsic aging is a result of outside factors chosen by you, such as where you live, your stress levels, and your lifestyle habits (like smoking).

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Programmed theories of aging

Programmed theories of aging

  • Programmed aging theories say that our cells have a predetermined lifespan that’s encoded into our bodies. These include:
  • Gene theory - suggests that specific genes turn “on” and “off” over time, causing aging.
  • Endocrine theory - here, aging is caused by changes in hormones.
  • Immunological theory - this is the idea that the immune response is designed to decline(autoimmunity), leading to disease and aging.

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Error theories of aging

Error theories of aging

  • Wear and tear theory - cells break down and become damaged over time.
  • Genome instability theory -aging happens because the body loses its ability to repair DNA damage.
  • Cross-linkage theory - aging is due to the buildup of cross-linked proteins, which damages cells and slows biological functions.
  • Rate-of-living theory - an organism’s rate of metabolism determines its lifespan.
  • Free radical theory - aging is due to the buildup of oxidative stress, caused by free radicals.
  • Mitochondrial theory - mitochondrial damage releases free radicals and causes aging.

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Genetic theories of aging

Genetic theories of aging

  • Telomere theory - Telomeres protect the ends of your chromosomes as they multiply. Over time, telomeres shorten, which is associated with disease and aging.
  • Programmed senescence theory - Cellular senescence occurs when cells stop dividing and growing, but don’t die.
  • Stem cell theory - Stem cells can turn into other cells, which helps repair tissue and organs. But the function of stem cells declines over time, potentially contributing to aging.
  • Longevity gene theory - This is the idea that certain genes extend lifespan.

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Evolutionary theory of aging

Evolutionary theory of aging

It says that an organism begins aging after they have reached their peak of reproduction and have passed down adaptive traits.

  • Mutation accumulation - This theory presumes that random mutations accumulate later in life.
  • Antagonistic pleiotropy - According to this theory, genes that promote fertility early in life have negative effects later on.
  • Disposable soma theory - The theory claims that when more metabolic resources are directed toward reproduction, the less is put toward DNA repair. The result is cell damage and aging.

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The biochemical theory of aging

The biochemical theory of aging

  • Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) - AGEs develop when fats or protein are exposed to sugar. High levels may lead to oxidative stress, which speeds up aging.
  • Heat shock response - Heat shock proteins protect cells from stress, but their response decreases as we age.
  • Damage accumulation - Normal chemical reactions damage DNA, proteins, and metabolites over time.

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Women live longer than men

Women live longer than men

In most parts of the world, women live longer than men . This is due to several biological, social, and environmental factors.

  • Estrogen is the female sex hormone, and has been found to have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects, which may protect women from certain diseases.
  • In contrast, the male sex hormone, testosterone may suppress the immune system.

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How to slow down aging

How to slow down aging

  • Eat a nutritious diet - Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Limit processed foods .
  • Stay active - Aim for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
  • Avoid tobacco - Tobacco speeds up aging.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation - Alcohol increases your risk of chronic disease.
  • Attend regular checkups
  • Know your family history - To have appropriate screening or get early treatment for potential chronic diseases.
  • Engage your brain - by doing brain exercises.
  • Wear sunscreen - Sunscreen protects your skin from UV radiation, which can cause premature aging.

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CURATED BY

joelm_saju

A medical student who is interested in the comings and goings of the universe.

There are about 300+ theories of aging, some which have been broken down here. Along with them, certain lifestyle changes which could slow down the physiological effects of aging. is also given.

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