The oldest living human is now 122 years old and it is proposed that young adults of today may live until they are 150 or more. So what about the ageing population and the economic strife that it’ll incur for future generations? By 2050, there will be 3 times as many people retired as those working. It really is unsustainable and will bring about global economic collapse.
The objective of anti-ageing medicine is not to prolong life even when quality of life is poor once we are doing now with traditional medicine. It really is to improve longevity so that we can still be healthy and independent and useful to society for much longer.
Anti-ageing medicine requires a holistic view of a person’s health instead of just treating the disease. This is something “alternative” practitioners have been doing for a long time.
What’s new is that now the doctors are doing it too. Nonetheless it won’t necessarily be your local GP, you may have to find an anti-ageing practitioner. They’re starting to pop up round the place now. Look for person who is a member of the Australasian Academy of Anti-ageing Medicine.
The Theories of Ageing
I’ve always thought ageing was just caused by the wearing down and deteriorating of our anatomies. Our joints pack up, our organs get tired (including our brain) and our skin gets wrinkly. THEREFORE I suppose I am a believer in the Deterioration Theory of Ageing.
But did you know there are various scientific theories of ageing? Each of them make sense and ageing is probably a combination of them all. Understanding these theories can empower us with the knowledge to fight ageing and the decay and disease that it brings.
The Wear and Tear Theory
This is the simple theory that people age because of insults to your bodies as time passes. Our skeleton is eroded and our organs – heart, liver, kidneys, skin – are worn down by toxins (sugar, fat, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, ultraviolet light, pollution, pesticides and emotional stressors). This damage accumulates and not only causes our body systems to work less efficiently, it decreases our capability to fight off further insults.
What can we do to prevent this wear and tear? Avoid toxins and stress! Easier said that done I understand and this article does not give you the solutions, there’s abundant information out there. Some notable sites include Low Tox Life and The Whole Daily created and run by smart Australian women.
This article can merely enlighten you concerning how all of the bad things in our life make us age. With that knowledge, we are able make the bond between action and reaction and how the lifestyle choices we make either reward or punish us.
The Genetic Control Theory
This is the idea that although we can not change our genetic makeup, we can protect our genes in many ways so the path of our programmed ageing (our genetic destiny) is altered. As we start our lives, our DNA (which contains all our genes, there are approximately 20,000 of these) is damaged.
DNA is constantly replicating to replace our cells and after a few years bits break. Eventually the cells that are being replaced don’t always turn out the way they should, leading to mutants that either die or cause disease.
The Genetic Control Theory proposed that it is the health of our DNA that controls how exactly we age as broken DNA results in disease, illness and ageing.
The Genetic Control Theory is closely associated with another theory, The Free Radical Theory. Just about everyone has heard about free radicals and know they’re bad for us but do you realize why? Free Radicals are constantly being produced by the metabolic processes that go on inside our bodies.
Other free radicals may be introduced from outside our anatomies in the form of all those toxins I mentioned before. Free radicals damage us because they are atoms or molecules with an extra electron. They unstable and so are said to be in an oxidative state.
Once you learn any basic chemistry, you’ll have learned that all atoms (except hydrogen) have protons, neutrons and electrons. Stay with me, I’ll ensure it is really simple. The number of protons should equal the amount of electrons.
If there is an extra electron, the atom isn’t happy and bounces around frantically trying to give away an electron to anyone who’s passing in order that it can regain equilibrium. They cause a lot of damage along the way. They target cell membranes, DNA and RNA, leaving a trail of destruction.
We can protect ourselves from free radicals by consuming nutritious foods that are known for their antioxidants properties or by firmly taking antioxidant supplements like Vitamin E and Vitamin C.
Antioxidants are guardian angels who travel around the body and neutralise the free radicals by firmly taking that extra electron and abandoning happy and stable atoms and molecules. They stop the destruction.
The Hayflick Limit Theory of ageing
This theory was submit by Leonard Hayflick in 1961. If the Genetic Control Theory purports that ageing is due to damage to our DNA, the Hayflick Limit Theory states that same damage is because telomere shortening.
Now, telomeres are pieces of junk DNA (DNA that doesn’t do anything) that sit at the ends of our proper DNA. They protect the ends of the DNA strands from damage.
Like everyone else hem a fabric so that it doesn’t fray, the telomeres avoid the fraying of our DNA by protecting the ends of it. Once you hear about being tested for your genetic age as opposed to your year age, this is exactly what they are looking at. Just how long your telomeres are.
Free radicals and oxidative stress are responsible for the damage to our telomeres just the same as it damages the rest of our DNA, therefore the answer is again antioxidants in the form of nutritious food and supplements and by reducing psychological and physical stress.
The Neuro-Endocrine Theory of ageing
This theory originated by Vladimir Dilman in 1954 and is founded on the belief that it’s the decline in neuroendocrine activity that makes us age. ENVEJECIMIENTO If our nervous system may be the queen bee of the body, our hormones are the workers. Pretty much everything that happens in our body may be the result of actions by our hormones.
It really is an unbelievably complex system that I am not even going to try to explain but if you keep this system running smoothly, your body will succeed. As we age many hormones decline. Especially after 50.
After menopause. It is possible to monitor your hormones and supplement them if necessary, a thing that your local GP might not tell you. Be proactive and ask about your hormones. Or find an anti-ageing practitioner. Your hormones will undoubtedly be one of the first things they investigate.
Inflammation Theory of Ageing
Inflammation is the body’s response to physiological stressors. The a reaction to a stressor usually goes like this. We detect the stressor (hormones again). A variety of biochemical reactions occur which result in increased permeability of our arteries. Put simply, your capillaries become leaky at the website of the injury.
The purpose of that is to permit our Immune cells (our white blood cells) to obtain out of the blood stream and into the tissue that is damaged and attack the invaders and repair the tissue. This leakiness of capillaries is what can cause the swelling and inflammation that you see when you injure yourself. Think hitting your thumb with a hammer or spraining your ankle.
The problem is, a lot more than just your white blood cells leak into that area, plenty of plasma complements it and the swelling ends up causing more problems compared to the actual injury. This is why we ice and elevate our injuries, to avoid the swelling. All that pooled fluid actually impedes circulation and slows down the healing process.
Now imagine that same inflammation going on throughout your body in capillaries everywhere and you could see why inflammation is indeed harmful. Inflammation also causes increased mucous production. That constantly runny nose, sinus pain or mucous in you stools is really a sign of chronic inflammation. And what’s the stressor that the body is reacting to? Oxidative stress usually. Free Radicals.
And if that’s not enough, increase this The Autoimmune Theory of ageing that states that once we age, the ability of our immune system to produce disease-fighting antibodies declines as does its capability to distinguish invaders from our very own cells.
So not only do we have capillaries leaking everywhere, we have immune cells leaking into our tissues that are attacking our own cells, not only the invaders. I don’t blame you if you want to stop reading now but I’ll make an effort to finish this on a positive note.