Aging is the process we all go through. Scientifically, it is defined as progressive accumulation of changes associated with increased risk of disease and death. These time related changes in the body contribute to aging process. Aging is not a disease but a natural process which every individual faces.
Causes of aging
Excessive sugar: Excessive sugar intake promotes aging. The sugar combines with the proteins and forms advanced glycation end products which produce free radicals and increase inflammation.
Stress: Prolonged stress leads to the release of emergency hormones which are further neutralized by release of calming hormone called cortisol. Continuous release of this hormone affects the part of the brain which is responsible for memory. This phenomenon cause inflammation, belly fat deposition and insulin resistance. These reactions further result in aging.
Inflammation: Inflammation is considered as one of the cause of aging. It is the causative factor for several age related diseases.
Free radicals: Free radicals are the unstable molecules that cause damage to the DNA which enhance the process of aging.
Characteristics of aging
Aging is the whole body process. Body undergoes changes both at cellular and tissue levels. The rate of aging may be different for different organs. The characteristics of aging are divided into two major categories:
The extrinsic characteristic
Eyes: Aging cause decreased vision, glaucoma, dryness of eyes, puffing of eyes and decreased color distinction.
Skin: Skin gets dry, hypo or hyper pigmented and wrinkled.
The intrinsic characteristic
Heart: The arteries get stiffened, heart size increases, heart muscles get thickened and heart rate depresses.
Digestive system: The digestive enzymes decrease in their in activity and secretion. The motility of intestine also decreases.
Memory: Aging accounts for diminished memory and imbalance.
Lungs: There is reduced maximum breathing capacity of lungs, decreased elasticity and shrink of ribcage muscles.
Bones: The rate of mineral replenishment decreases, bones loss density and become prone to fractures.
Muscles: Muscles loss mass, strength and flexibility.
Slowing of aging
Aging is the natural phenomenon which cannot be averted but can only be slowed down. A number of simple steps have been described for the purpose.
Physical activity: Physical activity maintain the muscle tone, improves the blood circulation, improve the blood circulation, limit the stiffening of arteries. Regular moderate exercising prevents constipation. Deep breathing exercise works wonders for brain as the oxygen directly reaches the brain. Organ system specific exercises work specifically for that system.
Wholesome healthy diet: A diet low in carbohydrate and fats but rich in proteins and fibers enhance the mobility of muscles of digestive system which prevents constipation. Plenty of water prevents the dehydration and maintain the fluid-water balance of the body. Dairy products are essential constituents an individual proceeding towards aging.
Quit smoking and drinking: The tar from the smoking gets accumulated in the lungs and block the airways. Smoking is injurious to all body organs and is not advisable at any and every age. Alcohol abuse damages the liver primarily and then shows effects on other organs like heart, kidneys and brain.
Stress: Stress affects both the body and mind. Stress relieving yoga and exercises decrease the free radical production and maintain the homeostasis between emergency and calming neurotransmitters.
Optimum sleep: Sleeping is the other name for meditation. Body does all the constructive activities and process of rejuvenation during the deep sleep. Optimum sleeping is beneficial for a healthy living. Apnea (lack of sleep) gives rise to several diseases associated with aging. Clinically, a sleep of 6-7 hours is recommended for a normal person.
Adequate amount of vitamins and minerals: A balanced diet of vitamins and minerals is required to keep the effects of aging at the bay. Vitamin D and calcium is required for healthy bones and proper muscle tones. Calcium supplements are prescribed for aging bones and joints. Calcium rich diet is especially recommended for women.
Healthy weight: Over weight comes with cascade of comorbidities. Overweight causes obesity which triggers a number of lifestyle diseases. Self-monitoring of body weight along with healthy diet and regular exercise is a globally acceptable formula for good health.