Aging

Aging is said to be an inevitable process in the life of every individual. It is a natural biological process that allows all organisms to grow and develop; it is also responsible for the progressive functional decline that occurs at some critical point in maturation. Though there are many people who fear reaching this stage in their lives, there are still more others who embrace it.

Humans have a specified life span, which is approximately 75 for males and 80 for females. Once a person nears these ages, his or her body begins to show signs of deterioration. However, because of this complex process of senescence and maturation, to declare biological age and chronological age as synonymous would be incorrect. After all, each individual age at his or her own pace. An unhealthy sixty five year old may be biologically much older than a spry eighty five year old, despite the reverse chronological relationship. Health aging is thus very important.

The aging Process:

The process of aging is multidimensional and complex. As one ages, there are significant declines in some physiological parameters, whereas other changes appear to have minimal impact on overall function. Scientists have tried to understand and describe the aging process for decades. Presently, no one theory has been proposed to explain aging in its most likely interact to cause aging. Selected theories of aging include Autoimmune Theory, Wear and Tear Theory, Cross linkage Theory, Free Radical Theory, and Cellular Age Theory.

The biological processes of aging in the nervous system may be divided, both in fundamental scientific terms and in clinical terms, into those processes that are generally considered normal aging and those that are considered pathological, or the result of some underlying disease process. However, in practice, it can be hard to tell normal and pathological processes apart. At the most gross level, brain shrinkage, or atrophy, occurs with normal aging. Brain volume loss also occurs at a rate of about two to three percent per decade after the age of fifty. This atrophy reflects a loss of neurons as well as white matter, and a reduction in synaptic density. The neuronal loss, however, is not a generalized process. Selective neuronal loss appears to occur in the locus ceruleus of the brainstem, the substantia nigra, the inferior olive, and the raphe nuclei of the brainstem, regions of the brainstem responsible for widespread connections to cortical and other areas of the brain. In the hippocampus, the brain region in the medial temporal lobe most closely associated with memory, normal aging has been associated with loss of neurons in the cubiculum, but not in other areas. Reasons for this selective vulnerability of certain neuronal populations to aging are not clear.

The white matter is also affected by the aging process, through the causes of this and its functional consequences remain uncertain. Both primary axon loss and reduction in myelin covering the axons may contribute to the rarefaction of white matter often seen on magnetic resonance imaging scans as periventricular white matter changes, also termed leukoaraiosis.

Slow Aging:

Although normal ageing is inevitable, modern medicine and better health practices have shown the promise of delaying the signs of aging for both men and women. There are many anti aging clinics dedicated to aging research today.

Effects of Aging

Aging Women:

As women age, their menstrual cycles also change. For females aged 45 and older, they near the stage of menopause, which is the cessation of the production of the female hormones. Along with this, a woman may feel hot flashes, become more irritable, feel fatigued more often, and possibly experience hair loss. Furthermore, as women age, they become susceptible to health risks posed by stress, such as cardiovascular disease, anxiety, and depression.

Aging Men:

For men, the effects of aging can be apparent through hair loss and bone degeneration as well. Along with aging, men may tend to lose sexual vitality or interest in sexual activity, which can also be attributed to stress. Erectile dysfunction is a very common condition that concerns many men who reach above the age of 45. At present, there are many procedures to help treat the condition, such as pills, surgery, and other devices. Some sources even present the possibility of using herbal remedies to help return sexual vigor in aging men.

Aging Gracefully:

Some of the ways by which people can prepare for aging is by adapting healthy habits, including regular exercise routines and the proper diet. This also helps maintain cardiovascular endurance to lessen the chances of having a heart attack. An anti aging nutrition might consist of anti aging supplements like anti aging vitamins etc. Most advertisements today recommend the supplementing of calcium in the diet, as this helps prevent osteoporosis or bone loss. Cosmetically speaking, as wrinkles become part of the aging process, there are women and men who turn to Botox treatments or face lifts to make them appear younger. There are also many easily available anti aging cream that are widely used as anti aging skin care.

Health and Aging:

Memory and aging go hand in hand. Some persons who age are likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, which is characterized by memory loss and degeneration of brain cells. This usually happens in men and women above 65 years old. In some cases, the disease can affect behavior and the interest of the individual towards other activities. There are recent studies that have linked smoking to heightened prevalence of Alzheimer’s in both men and women.

Aging is commonly associated with some degree of cognitive impairment relative to younger individuals, even in the absence of any functional impairment. As many as two-thirds of a healthy elderly have some decrease in performance in neuropsychological testing compared with younger subjects. However, it is difficult to say for certain that these subtle deficits are not related to the early onset of pathological processes, such as Alzheimer’s disease, because many of the studies are limited by their cross sectional design and consequent lack of longitudinal data.

There are also other conditions that are related to aging, but if a person is conscious about his health choices, he will have no problem. The quest for longevity and the Fountain of Youth is far from being over, and hopefully new medical breakthroughs will help older people live longer and happier lives. Who knows perhaps one day we will be able to prevent aging.

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