Why we age
Even though aging is a natural process, it nonetheless prompts a lot of questions, including: Why do people age and what precisely occurs during the process?
What happens in the body during the aging process?
Everyone's body experiences physical harm as they age. It has both internal and exterior causes, according to researchers. UV radiation is an example of an external factor, whereas free radicals, which are created during metabolic processes in the body, are an example of an internal component. The effects of aging are not limited to wrinkled skin or gray hair; many changes in older persons are also imperceptible.
Another change is taking place in stem cells - they are responsible for regeneration in the human body. Although stem cells still divide in old age, they no longer form the same cells as in a young body. This is another reason why the immune response decreases with age.
Why are we aging?
The idea that aging is a planned process is inaccurate. Instead, aging is a side consequence of physiological processes like adolescence. Therefore, we assume that aging has no biological purpose and simply occurs. Reproduction is the most crucial function for the organism, if we view the situation from the perspective of evolution.
What physical changes can occur with ageing?
We often associate aging with very specific physical manifestations such as wrinkled skin. In principle, however, all bodily functions decline with age, not just skin elasticity. This also includes the defensive power of the immune system. Among other things, the change in a small organ, the thymus, is responsible for this. In this organ, important immune cells, the so-called T cells, mature. Due to the influence of sex hormones, the organ gradually shrinks. This process starts at the age of 20 and is completed around the age of 40 to 50. From this point on, no new T cells mature in the thymus.
Young children have the best eye performance; in adults, vision steadily declines, starting around the age of a teenager. Certain biological mechanisms are behind this. For example, the lens of the eye loses its elasticity - it becomes more rigid and can no longer adjust to the optimal visual acuity. The older a person is, the more changes occur in organs. However, many complaints are not a direct result of the aging process; they arise from diseases that age favors.
Can we delay the aging process?
Ageing research is intensively concerned with processes typical of old age. However, there is still no pill that can simply slow down the aging process without side effects. Contrary to what many people think, the goal of ageing research is not to increase people's life expectancy immeasurably. Instead, our goal is to treat the aging process in such a way that diseases typical of old age only occur in as short a phase of life as possible.
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