The Captioned Photo is from the movie Paa in which Amitabh Bachchan was suffering from a disease called Progeria.
The word progeria comes from the Greek words “pro”, meaning “before” or “premature”, and “gēras” , meaning “old age”. This is a genetic disorder. We are not talking about genetic disorder in this post. We are discussing people aging faster even without the genetic disorder.
Chronologically we all are aging at the same pace, but irrespective of our chronological age, our biological age can be different. Unlike our chronological age, we can alter the pace of it i.e. slower or quicken our biological age by our actions and choices.
Knowing how the human body ages is as important as knowing how a human body functions. In one of the earlier post we have learned about the basics of the human body: Why should you know your body?
Now lets us understand how a body ages.
What is Aging:
We all know our body is made up of cells. A human body grows by an increase in the size of the cells or by the creation of new cells by cell subdivision. There is a limitation to the size of the cell growth and therefore cell subdivision is the major process of growth.
Every minute 200 million new cells are created in our body by subdivision of existing cells and replacing injured and torn out cells. Normal human cells divide 50 times before the cells die.
As we age, the body no longer replaces lost cells and therefore the efficiency of our tissues and organs declines (as tissues and organs are made of cells).
Each cell has a chromosome inside it. Each end of the chromosome is known as Telomere. As per the recent study, every time that a cell divides, a cell becomes shorter.
This shortening of the cell is shortening of Telomere. The scientists are of the view that there is a correlation between aging and length of the cells.
Free radicals from certain types of food we consume cause death of cells and damage the DNA. These free radicals can be blocked by certain types of food. Secondly, certain chemicals from the environment and cosmic radiation damage our DNA.
All these contribute to faster aging. On the other hand, certain compounds like proteins, calcium, vitamins, and phosphorus are required for efficient body functions. Absence or inadequacy of these compounds impacts the aging process.
Therefore, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet and regular exercise, helps maintaining cell length and unhealthy and irregular lifestyles quicken the process of cell damage.
As per the research paper ‘Telomere, lifestyle, cancer and aging’ by Masood Shammas of Harvard (Dana Farber) Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, USA published on National Center for Biotechnology Information, following are some of the factors which quicken the rate of Telomere shortening and therefore aging process.
Cardiovascular disease process
Exposure to Pollution
Lower Physical Activity
As per the AFPA, our diet choices influence our aging process. Food choices like fried, sugary, white flour, processed food, fatty food, aerated cold drinks, low on protein, high in carbohydrate quicken our aging process.
Low on Fruits and Vegetables
Finally (9), perpetual anger, distress also quickens our aging process. Studies show that forgiveness leads to better physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. Apart from the slower aging process, it also helps lower blood pressure, less depression, less stress, and less anxiety.
It is interesting to observe the similarity between factors influencing faster aging and factors causing Cancer. Cancer – What everyone needs to know?
All these Ageing sciences are evolving; we will have much more findings as the science progresses.
“The trick is growing up without growing old.” Casey Stengel
Yes, these tricks are healthy and regular lifestyle choices we make daily.
- Watching a TV or going for a walk is a choice,
- Eating junk food and eating healthy food is the choice we make,
- Going after the money and act like a greedy or finding time for the self for relaxing and exercise is the choice we make.
- Keeping grudges in our heart and mind or let go/forgive is the choice we make.
We cannot interfere with our chronological age, but we certainly can interfere with our premature biological aging with the right life choices and the positive attitude towards life.
“Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.” Jennifer Yane
Do not wonder before you need to.
Handpicked related post: Healthy aging or painful aging, choice is yours