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What Causes Aging

by Vicki Zerbee on 2009/05/31


What are the causes of aging? Why do we have a certain life span? Life forms have different life expectancies, from days to many years. Fortunately, humans can live very long lives. And science continues to find ways for us to live longer.

One person can age very differently from another. Did you ever hear someone say, ‘he’s a very young 75′ or, ‘she’s 40 going on 80!’ It is really our cells that age, or make our organs sick. There are many factors that cause our cells to age, and many that we can prevent. We know a lot more about diet, exercise, and lifestyles than those that came even a generation before us. The choices we make, however, are not always reflective of what we know.

I was thinking the other day about the overweight and obesity rates that are so high in the United States right now. What if soda and other hidden-calorie drinks that are loaded with sugar were never invented. What if processed foods were not available for us to eat. What if fast food was non-existent? If we had to take the time to process (clean, peel, etc.) and/or cook vegetables
for every meal, and we choose to make them the significant part of our daily diet, think about what that would do for our health and for our weight.

Environmental factors can play a part in aging as well. Pollution, chemicals, and toxins are everywhere in our daily lives. Inside our homes, outside our homes, they are hard to avoid. We do have more options today with the many green choices of products we can buy, and there have been major green actions to help clean our planet including the air we breathe.

Our cells and organs are affected by aging in different ways. We have choices here as well, to help keep these organs working as they are meant to work and staying disease free to help us live longer, healthier lives.

The heart wall thickens and, over time, is not able to pump blood as efficiently as it should. As we grow older, the amount of oxygen we have for use during exercise decreases.

Arteries can become thick and stiff when cholesterol and calcium build up in them. When the arteries narrow and lose their elasticity, we get high blood pressure.

I thought it was frightening that our breathing capacity declines around 40 percent as we move from age 20 to age 70.

When the number of brain cells decrease, we see memory impairment and even Alzheimers. This is one of the scariest symptoms of aging for many people.

The important bladder can lose its tone and tissues weaken causing loss of control.

Body fat increases as we age and can cause many diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.

Losing bone density leads to osteoporosis and fractures.

Our eyes and ears are not to be ignored. Eyes and ears begin to fade as we age and issues with both can impact our lifestyles.

Even though we know that diet and exercise and lifestyle can make a great difference in the health of our organs, we still don’t always make the healthy choices.

Free radicals are causes of aging that we hear about most. To a certain extent, free radicals have a useful purpose. When they help destroy bacteria or other invaders to the body, they are good. It is when they are in excess that we have problems. And with factors like sun exposure, radiation, tobacco smoke and other pollutants, we do get an excess of free radicals.

Inflammation can be the root cause of many diseases of aging. There are many theories about why people seem to have more inflammation in their bodies, and many are centered around our diets. Deficiencies in hormones can lead to premature aging and various diseases. Our immune system declines as we age, and can be accelerated by things like stress and depression. We are not able to fight off illness and disease as well with a compromised immune system. There are many processes that go on inside our cells daily that can effect how and when we age.

What scientists have been studying for many years is how to impact these causes of aging in our cells. How do we help the body processes to perform as they should, at the cellular level? How do we prevent inflammation in the body, and keep optimal hormone levels present in the body? How do we neutralize the excess of free radicals?

When we activate specific processes in our cells, we can make an important difference in the health of them. Antioxidants can help the performance of our cells. Newly discovered resveratrol can activate a gene in the body that fights the diseases of aging. Diets that are high in fiber and balanced in protein and good carbohydrates, with enough fruits and vegetables help us maintain healthy weights and gives our bodies the nutrients they need for optimal health. Supplementing the diet with food supplements, like vitamins, minerals, fish oil, and targeted herbals, can fill the gaps that we don’t get from foods on a daily basis. Exercise is very important for overall health including heart health and joint health.

We already have many answers in regard to what causes aging. We must answer the question personally, “Are we following what scientists have discovered and what we now know about fighting aging and being healthy throughout our lives?”

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  • http://naturesgreenremedy.com Jim Hickey

    With all of the factors playing against us (even if many of them self-induced), it’s great to learn of steps that we can take to help change to course of aging by using materials Mother Nature provides is a major plus IMHO.

    I have always been nervous about relying on “corrective medical practices” being the thrust of life preservation. Prevention has always made more sense even if I squandered much of my life ignoring it.

    Thanks for the insight …..

  • http://brendabunney.com Brenda Bunney

    I agree with Jim… it’s really nice to know that there are options to change our aging process or at least slowing things down a bit :)

    It’s nice that we have some natural options available.

  • http://www.simplehealthexercises.com/ Simple Health Exercises

    Hi 5 Folks – 3 score years n’ten – lol – that’s what I thought when reading the first paragraph aging can be a curse if you don’t do some thing about maintenance as well as positive self-evaluation if you get past 70 and you can still do every thing for your self you must be doing something right – my mother and her sisters are all in their nineties (not many uncles left? Huh!) my mother says its not living that kills you its how you live – made no sense as young folks – but some how as you drift through your fifties you soon understand the joy of youth – all of a sudden you have movement to contend with – and that’s always better without pain –

    Phillip Skinner
    The best thing to do is be happy live well
    life is truly beautiful…

    PS: if only I’d like greens as a kid duh!!!

  • http://jonclayton.name Jon Clayton

    Vicki, there are so many different factors that effect aging. One that I think is underrated is stress. That is, how we deal with life. Some has said ulcers are not so much the result of what we eat as what eats us. We need to discover healthy ways to handle the stress that we all encounter. Again, it is not the stress as much as the way we deal with it. Thanks!

  • http://loveromancerelationshipbooks.com Relationship Advice

    This is great informations. Thanks for the detailed break down of what happens to our organs when we don’t take care of ourselves like we should. I know it is very hard to stay on a balanced diet and exercise routine. But it is important to work on it. It is okay to break it every now and then as long as you go back on it.

  • http://BillTessore.com Bill Tessore

    Clearly the answer to your question, in the main, is, “No”. By the same token, so many in the USA are ensconced in the cradle to grave socialized life management system that fails to incentivise its beneficiaries from breaking out into the world of the gainfully employed and self-sufficient. These programs provide free food, food stamps, free medical / dental, a stipend, etc.

    So there is a state engineered laziness mindset. As if that’s not bad enough, the government subsidized food programs often only permit access to food stuffs that clearly contains growth hormones, high fructose corn syrup, and other food additives we know to be non-beneficial to promoting sound nutrition and health.

    Getting the government to acknowledge these unproductive acts and take steps to reverse their effects in the best interests of those whom they claim to be benefactors could go a long way to eliminating much of the ill-health in the US population.

    I appreciate you,

    Bill Tessore

  • daisypicker5

    I completely agree on all the tips mentioned. I watched this video the other day http://www.howcast.com/videos/143624-How-To-Prevent-Wrinkles and realized that to stay young and healthy all you have to do is take care of yourself.

  • RuzaickRafeek

    Being health conscious is very important, you are here reading this comment, says that you are health conscious. First of all to stay young you have to love your body and its the most valuable wealth you have got in this world.

  • naushad

    great article. i really liked it
    i am 21year old with height of 5.11ft and weight 85kgs. my looks are not as it should be in the 21year but i look bit adult and not young
    please provide me solution to my problem

    thank you

  • vzerbee

    Hi there-

    What have you been doing in terms of weight management and what are your goals? It’s great to think about these things as a young woman because a healthy weight will help you feel good, have energy every day for your activities, and build overall good health.

    I will give you a link to an article here on the site about weight management. Let me know what you think!

    http://antiagingbydesign.com/fat-and-inch-loss

    Thank you for writing. Stay positive and set yourself a goal to work toward. Look forward to hearing back from you:)

    Vicki

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