What Causes Aging In Humans?
Any person alive wants to stay young and live eternally. This is not possible for the time being, but there is massive research done on the causes of aging in hopes that this process can be reversed or at least slowed down. The reality is that no one still knows why we age. Let’s take a closer look at the two main theories intended to explain this natural process and at factors which are considered to speed it up.
The Major Theories
The damage concept is the first one of the two most widely supported aging theories. It states that external factors cause damage to our genes (DNA). Various small changes in our DNA occur over time and build up. This causes cells, tissues, organs and systems to change adversely as well. At one point, the DNA change becomes so big that the body fails completely.
The second concept is programmed aging. It states that each person has a gene or a combination of genes that will determine how long he or she will live. If this gene or gene combination is discovered, it may be possible for it to be modified in the future.
Even though neither one of the concepts has been fully backed by research evidence, it is known that some things in life cause people to age more quickly. These have to do with the risk of increasing cellular damage. It is worth checking out the main ones.
Factors Speeding Up the Aging Process
Substance abuse is one of the main factors speeding up aging and increasing mortality risk. People who smoke a lot, drink too much alcohol and/or take drugs are more likely to get affected by serious illnesses such as cancer and organ damage and failure. If you have any of these problems, you should consult a specialist who will help you deal with it timely.
Stress is among the most prominent factors which make you age more quickly. When you stress out, specific hormones are released into the body. They help you to stay alert forcing all organs and systems to work more intensively. This is a good thing. It is part of the instinct for self-preservation. However, if you are under stress very often, it becomes harder for the body to keep all organs and systems work optimally. This can result in adverse effects such as high blood pressure and weakening of the immune system. Daily stress is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. The best thing which you can do is to find a way to keep anxiety and emotions under control and get sufficient rest.
Long sun exposure without proper protection between ten in the morning and five in the afternoon is another risk factor which is often neglected. Both the UVA and the UVB rays of the sun cause damage to the skin cells. This damage results in quicker aging of the skin. The skin loses its softness and elasticity. Dark spots and wrinkles appear. The damage to the cells can lead to changes in the DNA which cause the formation of tumors. Skin cancer is one of the most widespread types of cancer and it affects a growing number of young people every year. Given all this, it makes sense to wear sunscreen, wide-brim hat, sunglasses and breathable clothes which cover as much of your body as possible when you go out during the day.
High calorie diet is also a major factor which makes the body age faster. One of the most significant discoveries made by pioneering researchers in the field of aging was that the lifespan of lab rats was increased twofold after their calorie intake had been reduced. This does not mean that you should stay on a low-calorie diet to live longer, of course, but you should try to take the optimal amount for your age and gender. One of the easiest ways to reduce your calorie intake is to reduce the consumption of foods which contain the highest amounts of sugar and fat to the possible minimum. The list includes all sweets, junk food, canned foods, fatty foods like red meat, salami and yellow cheese and fried foods.
Low consumption of important nutrients is also something which affects how fast you age. If you do not get enough nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from food, you will be at higher risk of various health problems. The way in which you look will be adversely affected too. The best sources of healthy chemical compounds which are essential for the body include fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and fatty fish. Make sure that these are present in your diet.
Sedentary lifestyle has been linked to various medical conditions. It has adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and on the musculoskeletal system. When you work out and do cardio exercises, in particular, the blood flow in the body improves and all organs and systems work more effectively. Just half-hour walk every day can help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Insufficient sleep also causes the body to age more quickly. You do not have to be a scientist to notice how bad you look after a week with three hours of sleep every night. When you are tired, you cannot do anything as well and as quickly as usual and this causes greater stress. Adults should try to sleep for at least seven hours each night. If you have sleep problems, you should take the necessary measures to deal with them right away.
Poor care for your body can also lead to faster aging. Frequent exfoliation of the skin helps to remove the topmost layer of dead cells and to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. Teeth flossing and washing are essential routines. Regular medical checkups are mandatory regardless of a person’s age. They can help to detect and treat potentially serious problems early on. Similarly, if you notice any bothering symptoms, you should report them to your doctor without delay. It is best to consult your physician when you plan to use any home treatments such as the intake of supplements.
With a healthy lifestyle, you may be able to slow down aging.