Aging is the process of growing older and includes changesin both biology and psychology. Biology refers to the way the bodyfunctions. Psychology describes how the mindfunctions. How people age has to do with genetics, environment,and lifestyle over a lifetime.

What is the information for this topic?

Experts do not really know why the body ages as aperson gets older. The average life span in 1900 was 47 years.Now, life expectancy is age 76. This increase is due to improvementsin sanitation, medical care, and the discovery of antibiotics. Theincrease in the number of older people is changing the makeup of society.

The aging process can be divided into three parts:

  • genetic, which means it is influenced by the factors and conditionsthat are passed on from parents to offspring
  • biochemical, which refers to activities in the cells, tissues, andorgans of the body
  • physiological, which means how the body and all of its componentsfunction together
  • There are two major theories on aging. People who followthe program theory think that aging is based on a biological timetable.Others who believe in the damage or error theory say that aging occursas the environment assaults the body and causes it to age. Manypeople believe it is both biology and environment that causes aging.The major beliefs for each theory are listed below:

    Program theory

    The beliefs of the program theory are as follows:

  • Genes switch on and off in turn, causing different things tohappen at different times. Organ systems in each person can age atdifferent rates.
  • Hormones act as a biological clock controlling the pace of aging.
  • The immune system breaks down, later leaving a person moreand more prone to infection and disease.
  • Error theory

    Following are the major beliefs of the damage or error theory:

  • Cells and tissues have vital parts that wear out.
  • If a person has a high metabolic rate, his or her life span will be shorter.
  • Proteins in the body build up. This slows down the body’s processes,and the body begins to age.
  • Oxygen radicals collect in the body and damage it. The organseventually stop working.
  • The system in the body that synthesizes proteins stops working well.Faulty proteins are developed and cause damage to cells, tissues, and organs.
  • Genes mutate as the body ages, causing cells to malfunctionand break down.
  • Experts used to believe that chronic disease and disabilitywere always part of aging. Now it is known that much disease can beprevented or controlled. Living a healthy lifestyle can have a huge positiveimpact on aging and preventing disease. The three leading causes of deathamong people in developed nations areheart disease, stroke,and cancer.Medical experts know a great deal about how to prevent death fromthese causes.

    Healthy lifestyle

    While a person’s genetic makeup cannot be changed, thereare things that one can do to improve his or her lifestyle:

  • Stay active. Without exercise, muscle mass declines about23% between the ages of 30 and 70. Exercise can prevent musclemass decline.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. People who are as little as 11 poundsover the healthy weight range for their height and build have morerisk of disease. Eating fewer calories may work by preserving cells,moderating a decline in growth hormone, and keeping the immunesystem working well.
  • Don’t smokeand avoid being around smoke from tobacco.
  • Maintain active personal relationships. People who aremarried or who have healthy, supportive relationships with others live longer.
  • Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Follow thefood guide pyramid.Fruits and vegetables have naturally occurring antioxidants that prevent freeradicals from damaging cells in the body.
  • Avoid getting too much sun. Frequent, long exposures tothe ultraviolet light in sunshine can age the skin and increase the risk for skincancer.
  • Keep fat in the diet under 30% of total calories. Also, get the nutrientsneeded for a healthful diet.
  • Have routine physical examsas recommended by the doctor.
  • Limit stressand practice stress-reduction techniques.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • These specific practices have been linked with both theprevention of diseases and a person’s quality of life as he or she ages.

    Article type: xmedgeneral