How many times will we use the phrase ‘at my age’ in our lives? There’s a good reason this has become such a common excuse. As we get older, our bodies tend to get weaker and our memories may begin to slip.
The question is why does this happen? What is it about our minds and bodies that causes them to need more care as we age? What is the science of aging?
We were curious, too, and as it turns out, its quite a fascinating process. We’ll go into detail below.
The first thing you need to know is that everything happens at the cellular level. The human body is made up of trillions of cells, and naturally, some of them have to die at some point.
This may seem like nothing until you take into account that millions of cells are dying and being reborn every minute. Most of these cells are abundant, replaceable cells, such as hair and skin. This brings us to our next point.
What is apoptosis? Apoptosis is a word meaning cell death. In ideal circumstances, apoptosis is a planned event. The cell isolates itself and releases chemicals within its ‘body’ that break it down.
While this is happening, other cells are splitting apart through a process known as mitosis. These cells replace the ones lost through apoptosis.
With all of this happening like clockwork, certain things fall through the cracks. For instance, a living cell may end up with dead pieces of older cells, and therefore function less efficiently.
3. Tumors and Cancer:
There are a lot of alarmists out there complaining about a cancer epidemic. We’re not going to comment on if there is an epidemic or where it might be coming from, but we will say a little bit about tumors and cancer.
Tumors are caused by a disruption in the balance of mitosis and apoptosis. When cells are replicating too often, the result is a large mass of cells. There are a few factors that are believed to be capable of causing tumors, such as injury and infection. In many cases, these tumors are benign. Sometimes, the body even realizes its mistake and isolates the tumor from the rest of the body, which makes it easier to treat.
A malignant tumor is what causes cancer. It replicates too quickly for the body to gain control over it, and it can spread to multiple areas of the body. As time goes by, it will put pressure on nearby organs, causing pain and leading to diminished function and eventual death if not treated or treated unsuccessfully. The cause of malignant tumors is still unknown.
It is here that we introduce another scientific word–autophagy. Autophagy is a process through which the body cleanses itself, from both dead cell fragments and broken components and viruses.
Autophagy is a natural process in our bodies that helps to slow aging. The good news is that this process can be triggered by certain behaviors. For instance, staying active and eating right can help autophagy occur more often. There is some debate that occasional fasting can help trigger autophagy, but this has only been extensively tested in rats.
5. Effects on the Body:
Now that we know a bit about the science of aging, we should probably re-examine things on a larger scale. How does all of this cause hearing loss, Alzheimer’s, weaker bones, etc? There are a few factors that can play into this.
6. Cell Lifespan:
We’ve mentioned that cells naturally die and replicate, but how often this happens, and even if it happens, depends on the type of cell. Our skin, for instance, is composed of cells with a lifespan of roughly one month.
Skin cells are somewhat unique in that most types of cells don’t replace themselves nearly as quickly, and some not at all. The visual cortex, an area of your brain responsible for interpreting what you see, is fully grown by birth. This means that any eyesight you lose in life stays lost.
Other cells replace themselves but do so slowly. Neurons in the hippocampus, an area responsible for memory, take a few decades to replace themselves.
Cells also tend to become less effective as they age, even cells that replace themselves often, like skin cells. Our bodies produce less of certain ingredients as we age, such as collagen and testosterone.
Thus, our skin becomes looser and weaker, we lose muscle mass, and our immune system weakens. Autophagy may slow this down, but how much is still a mystery.
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This goes hand in hand with deterioration, but certain parts of our bodies can be hugely affected by external factors. Our hearing is one of the most notable. If you’ve seen enough movies, you’ve probably come across a scene where the camera switches to first-person. Then, a loud noise goes off and everything goes in slow motion as the volume gives way to the sound of intense ringing.
This is a representation of temporary hearing damage. Hearing damage occurs at various speeds for different people. An incident involving a loud noise can cause a ruptured eardrum and hearing loss.
However, we usually lose hearing over time, which is why we tend to hear less when we’re older. This may happen even if we don’t encounter much noise in our lifetime. Prolonged use will eventually wear out our ears.
The Science of Aging:
There are a lot of factors that play into the science of aging, from how our bodies naturally function on a cellular level, to deterioration and damage over time. How healthy we are can also determine how fast we age. If you want to know more about this subject, we encourage you to do more research.
If you want to read more blog posts on pretty much any topic, please visit our site. We can give you some advice on how to improve your vision, whether you have healthy eyes or might need lenses. We can also tell you how being clean improves your health.