THE DIFFERENT THEORIES OF AGING
Scientists have come up with different theories explaining why and how you age.
The free radical theory of aging
This theory is based on the damage of cells due to cumulative free radicals, leading to disease and, ultimately, death.
Free radicals are molecules within the human cells. Due to regular oxidation (e.g. breathing), and other environmental factors (e.g. tobacco smoke), these molecules become damaged and unstable, and begin to affect other healthy cells close by, creating many more similar unstable free radicals, and thus initiating a chain reaction of cell damage by free radicals.
Damaged cells lead to disease and ultimate death.
This theory implies that antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E, which reduce the formation of free radicals, not only slow down the aging process, but also prevent disease.
The genetic theory of aging
This theory is based on the pre-programming of human genes to induce aging and death—your Creator ensures that you will not be immortal. Therefore, aging is not the consequence of wear and tear over the years. The fact of the matter is that you are not meant to live forever.
Other than disease and other environmental factors, there is no great variation in the lifespan of humans, and this may partially explain the role of genes in aging.
The hormone theory of aging
This theory is based on the gradual changes in the human body due to the decline and degeneration of the endocrine system, which is responsible for producing hormones to regulate many body functions and processes. Changes in the human hormone production, such as menopause, account for the changes responsible for aging.
There is no scientific evidence that hormone replacement will in fact increase human lifespan. So, think twice before you decide on a hormone replacement therapy.
The immunity theory of aging
This theory is based on the failure of the immune system to give adequate protection against contaminants, viruses, and stress, among other agents contributing to a weakened or compromised immune system.
This theory attests to the important role of the immune system in longevity health and overall wellness.
The rate of living theory of aging
This theory is based on the rate of breathing: faster oxygen metabolism leads to a shorter lifespan. In the animal kingdom, rodents, with the fastest heartbeats have the shortest lifespan, while tortoises with the slowest breaths live the longest.
This theory vindicates that breathing right is one of the key factors in longevity in humans. Learning to breathe right is critical to remaining younger and healthier for longer.
To sum up, the human aging process is best explained not by one single theory but by a combination of these theories.
The truth of the matter is that you age, just like everyone else. The point in question is how you can delay that aging process, making you younger and healthier for longer—or, at least, not making you age more quickly than you are supposed to.
Unfortunately, many of us have fallen victims to the so-called Accelerated Aging Syndrome.
Potentials for accelerated aging
According to Steven Masley, M.D., the former medical director of the
Pritikin Longevity Center
in , you may have the potentials for
accelerated aging, if you have just any three of the following: St. Petersburg, Florida
- A fast blood sugar level of more than 100 mg/dl
- A blood pressure higher than 130/85
- A waist larger than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men
- Good cholesterol level (HDL) less than 40 mg/dl for men, and 50mg/dl for women
- Triglyceride (a certain type of fat in your blood) levels greater than 150 mg/dl.
Factors contributing to accelerated aging
There are several factors that increase the predisposition to accelerated aging:
· Your diet: you are what you eat, and you become what you eat.
- Your lifestyle: life on the fast lane often leads to faster aging.
- Your physical inactivity: or immobility brings about stagnation and degeneration.
- Your stress: stress kills your brain cells, predisposing you to accelerated aging.
“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” Lucille Ball
Copyright© by Stephen Lau