Factors of Ageing

Influences and Effectiveness

Key Influential Factors

The main factors that influence ageing include genes, nutrition, lifestyle and environment. Ageing can be positively influenced by changes to these factors and by enhancing natural mechanisms such as improving nutrition and also drugs which prevent ageing.

Inevitable Ageing

Aging may be inevitable, but the rate of aging is not. Why and how our bodies age is still largely a mystery, although we're learning more and more by the day. While genes partially determine who will develop chronic conditions that hasten the aging process, such as cancer, there are definite ways, such as keeping a healthy lifestyle, which will help to avoid such predisposed conditions.

A Study of Twins

Identical twins were studied to find differences in their physical appearances which could be labelled as attributes to ageing. The most notable exogenous factors influencing ageing were sun exposure and smoking. Other possible contributing factors could include alcohol consumption, stress, diet, exercise, disease and medication. In summary, the genetic influences on ageing may be highly overrated, with lifestyle choices exerting far more important effects on physical ageing.

Sun Damage

Over time, the sun's ultraviolet light can cause damage to the fibers in skin the skin which are known as elastin. The breakdown of these fibers causes the skin to sag, stretch and it also loses its ability to tighten back after stretching. Nothing can undo sun damage to the skin, so looking after it from the early stages of life will help immensely with slowing the skins ageing process.

Smoker's Skin

Smoking can accelerate the skins ageing process. Smokers can appear gaunt and can develop an orange or grey complexion. Lines and wrinkles occur along with dry, coarse or uneven skin. Since the 1970's studies have shown that smoking results in premature facial wrinkling and lines around the eyes. These effects continue at a quicker rate than most into elderly age with smokers.

Insufficient Sleep

During the day, our body is under the constant pull of gravity in a vertical direction. Gravity compresses the spine and requires the heart and vascular system to pump blood against it's pull. When sleeping, which is usually done lying down, the heart and vascular system can rest and the spine can regenerate. If you don't get enough sleep lying down then the heart, vascular system and spine will not be able to regenerate or rest and so will have a constant pull on them and could become deformed - ageing of the spine/bones - or malfunction. Also, certain hormones such as the growth hormone are secreted only during sleep and we need these hormones for our body to grow normally.