To reach a biblical age while remaining healthy and vital is our dream. A dream even though scientists are working hard on extending lifespan. However, we can already do some things to "successfully" age.
The phases of human life
Man is subject to a constant change of form and performance. The phase of physical-mental development and maturity lasts until about the age of 25 years. In the period up to the 45th year of life, the person is fully capable.
Then begins the phase of degenerative changes and increasing loss of function. At the same time, many people hardly realize the aging process at first, because nature proceeds slowly and cautiously. Only when the first performance losses are noticeable at the age of 50 and 60 does it become clear that we are aging.
Why do cells age and die?
Cells can not divide indefinitely. Leonard Hayflick, an American researcher on aging, was able to show in cell cultures that the individual cells divide only 50 times, then these cells degenerate.
The main factors for this are endogenous (endogenous metabolic processes) and exogenous influences. External attacks are triggered by:
Environmental noxes such as:
- heavy metals
- UV radiation
Pleasure poisons like:
Pathogens (viruses, bacteria)
They all damage the genetic material and other components of human cells, causing cell division to get out of hand. In addition, the repair mechanisms of the body are aging, so that the cell wear is driven forward ("Oxidative Stress Theory"). Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that arise during the various chemical reactions in the cells as part of the metabolism and can lead to death under extreme conditions.
Among the endogenous factors, the "Telomere Hyopthesis of Aging" represents a significant starting point. Thereafter, the lifetime of an individual is determined by the number of possible cell divisions, which in turn is related to the length of the so-called telomeres. Telomeres are the end pieces of the chromosomes, in which the individual number of divisions possible for the cell is determined.
Aging process favors diseases
As a result of increasing genetic instability and progressive decline in the physical and mental adaptability of the body through the change in the organs and organ systems, it comes to typical geriatric diseases. Common are cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, diabetes with its sequelae, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia, rheumatism, osteoarthritis and cancer.
Many of these age-related diseases in turn lead to increased oxidative stress on the body, which, if the theories apply, further accelerates the aging process. Although the organ functions are reduced in varying degrees, they are sufficient to lead a physically and mentally satisfying life into old age.
Living longer through anti-aging medicine?
Less spectacular anti-aging remedies are already in use. In particular, the intake of antioxidants (including provitamin A, vitamins E and C) and fish oil capsules has a high priority. The free radicals are rendered harmless and the body cells can be protected from premature wear.
How to be "young"
If you ignore the importance of inherited plants or fateful illnesses, then it is a healthy lifestyle that can delay aging. What is indispensable: physical and mental activity, a balanced diet, abstinence from smoking and excessive alcohol consumption and exercise.
However, it is very important to live this healthy lifestyle from the beginning of youth rather than "five to twelve".
Which health values can you test?
In addition to the free check-up at the doctor from the age of 35 years, there are also interesting offers in pharmacies. There you can - depending on the equipment - various parameters can be recorded, for example, lipid profile (total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, VDL, LDL), the blood sugar levels (fasting value, postprandial value, HbA1c value), renal parameters (albumin, etc.), determination of free radicals for the detection of oxidative stress, body fat measurements.
In addition to these health checks, well-qualified dietary advice to individuals or certain risk groups (diet for osteoporosis patients, type 2 diabetics, people with rheumatic diseases, cancer patients) and additional recommendations for high quality dietary supplements can significantly improve the quality of life.