The signs of aging are more dangerous than the disease associated with this process
We are all familiarized with the signs of aging because they hit us ahead of any potential disease associated with this naturally occurring process. As we grow old, our body modifies, along with our biological processes and we can no longer function at the same rates as we once did. The skin suffers significant modifications, the organ functioning modifies and our metabolism tends to become more sluggish. Aside from that, there is a wide variety of diseases an old person ends up developing and they are strictly linked to old age.
What is more important is that, aside from the signs of aging that no one can avoid, we, in some cases, cannot avoid or treat the health affections that may occur later in life. Despite being a lot of factors contributing to a person’s health, including lifestyle and genetic predisposition, age plays a major role in the process as well, regardless of the other factors. Alzheimer, for instance, is known as an old people’s disease and we have been trying for quite a while to look for a useful treatment against it. Unfortunately, all we can do is partially treat the symptoms, not the affection, something that is specific to a lot of age-related diseases.
The problem with this is that, especially during old age, a patient’s organism cannot effectively react to the treatment, in the same manner, a younger body would. This means that, aside from the signs of aging and the diseases themselves, the elders also need to cope with the treatment. It usually comes with side effects that tend to worsen as the organism is older and weaker and, in some cases, the treatments themselves can actually trigger another disease, needing different medication and the chain extends at an alarming rate.
Treat the signs of aging instead of the diseases?
This is an interesting perspective, which made the scientists look for evidence to confirm their theories. In this regard, they have analyzed over 600 people passed the age of 100, to see what their metabolism is and what changes occur in their DNA, genes and blood as they grow older. What they discovered is interesting, to say the least. It seems like, in those who are predisposed to live longer than the rest of the population and who experience the signs of aging later in life, their organisms are tougher and better equipped to cope with the biological threats. Even more so, they tend to be more protected against both the signs of aging and the diseases that follow.
What is more interesting is that they are not doing anything in this regard. Only a small portion of the subjects did any meaningful physical exercises, many of them were regular smokers and the majority of them was obese or had weight problems. Then how did they manage to remain in such a good physical condition? The answer, as the researchers showed lied in the genetic mutations that were altering the functioning of certain proteins.
It has been discovered that the signs of aging may be delayed by using rapamycin, a substance given to those undergoing organ transplant procedures. In animal testing, it has been noticed that it greatly delayed the biological aging and the same effect has been later observed in humans too.
The same effect can be obtained by using metformin, a drug used in treating diabetes, which has been observed to provide the subject with the same rejuvenating effects. Aside from this, there are several other, apparently ordinary drugs that have the same minor effect in animals especially, aka reducing the signs of aging and prolonging lifespan.
For the next period, researchers say they need to focus on delaying the signs of aging, because simply by doing so, they may be able to postpone or even avoid the development of various age-related diseases.