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Aging

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Aging is the biological process of growing older and showing the effects of increasing age. A person's birthday is often an important event from which their age is measured, usually counted in years for adults and months for infants. Roughly 100,000 people worldwide die each day of age-related causes. The rate of aging is highly dependent upon genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors.

Aging in humans often refers to a multidimensional process of physical, psychological, and social change. Some dimensions of aging grow and expand over time, while others decline. For example, physical reaction time may slow with age, while knowledge and wisdom may expand. Research shows that even late in life potential exists for physical, mental, and social growth and development. Aging is an important part of all human societies reflecting the biological changes that occur, but also reflecting cultural and societal conventions.

Cause of Aging

The reasons for how someone looks as the age or how their body changes depend on who they are and how they lived their life. Where a person lives or works will change the way that their body will be as they get older. The amount of infections and diseases affect a person's body as well.[1] Another big contributor to aging is the damage in DNA. There is no specific cause for DNA damage, but everyday life, smoking, and sun exposure will cause the DNA to deteriorate more rapidly.[2] As you get older, the cells in the body start to die and stop regenerating as quickly. The body's organs start to get sick and will not work properly. The walls of the heart start to thicken and will not be able to pump blood as well. If blood is not pumped efficiently, muscles and organs will not get the right amount of oxygen. The thickening of the heart's walls can quicken or be more severe based on a person's weight. Cholesterol and calcium will build up in arteries which causes thickening of the walls. Arteries will also start to lose their elasticity and become narrow, which causes high blood pressure. [3]

The Process

The process of aging will happen in everyone's life because no matter who you are you have to endure it. It is part of God's plan for everyone. Some people have found ways to avoid looking the age that they should be or slow the aging process on the outside of their body. Most of those people do not realize that the inside of their body will still wear down, even if the outside of their body looks great. Everything you do causes stress on the body which causes the person to look older, act older, or have different needs; such as becoming less active or needing different food or vitamins.[4].

Infant

Every human being has started as a baby. It is one of the most important development steps in humans lives.

The first three months of a baby's life are the most important and during that time the most development is going on. There is no exact time that babies are supposed to grow or develop; all babies have their own agendas and grow at their own rate. The four major things that babies will develop are motor skills, communication, vision, and hearing. The more parents hold their children and talk to them, the faster their children will develop, grow, and learn.

  • Motor Skills: New born babies are not able to lift their heads at first, but as they get older and lay on their stomach they build the muscles to lift up their heads. Once they learn to lay on their stomachs they start to be able to hold their heads up. Babies learn how to grab toys from the parents and hold on to them for a few minutes. After many tries, babies learn how to roll over and can start kicking and stretching.
  • Communication: Babies are first born knowing only how to cry when they need anything, from food to sleep. This is the only kind of communication that babies know, until they observe and are taught by their parents. [5] Babies can quickly learn to recognize their parents' voice and touch. The way the parents hold them and talk to them will help the infants learn how to react by smiling or cooing at them. Babies will also start to pick up their parents facial expressions because they learn everything from their parents.
  • Vision: During the first three months of a baby's life they are intent on studying their parents expressions and how they do things. They start to play with their hands and feet trying to figure everything out. As they get older they will start to recognize colors, shapes, and sounds.[6] During the first month of a baby's life, they are not sensitive to light; for them to even notice light they need fifty times more light than an adult. They can quickly start seeing colors, but during the first couple of weeks their eyes might go off in different directions because they are still learning to work together. [7]
  • Hearing: Within weeks of a baby's born, they can react to sounds that are around them. They will start to react to loud noising by blinking or flinching. Babies will eventually start reacting to their parents voices and sounds. [8] They will also start being able to localize sounds when they hear them, and they might turn to the noise or come towards the noise. Babies will start to react to their names being called and when they are told no. They will also start trying to imitate sounds and words that they hear from their parents or other sources. [9]

Child

Children and babies need to be taken care of health-wise and emotionally to grow and mature well and correctly. As children start talking they first become very independent and can be very rude to their parents because they have learned the word "no". They then start asking many questions and want to know about everything they see and hear. The intellect starts to develop more and more and they can start figuring things out and start recognizing familiar things. At age two and three they should start eating by themselves and eating with the family, but should still be taking naps. By the time the child is three they will start toilet training, asking to, or getting curious. Their words become understandable, and their fine motor skills improve, like being able to open doors, walk around or run, stand on one foot, and eat with a utensil. Once they hit five and six they are able to become more independent; they can start dressing themselves and are toilet trained. They are able to use more words and make more sense of their conversations. Children will start to go to school, the dentist, or the doctor without being too upset about being separated from their parents. The motor skills increase now more that they can jump, skip, and button or zip up shirts. Parents need to start upping their safety standards because five and six year olds are more responsible, but are also able to get into more things that can end up hurting them. As they are seven, eight, or nine they start to rely on themselves more than their parents. Their parents are now more just there, than needed. They start to make more friends and become more social, but they can also start really bad habits at this time like becoming snotty towards their elders, or becoming lazy. This is the time parents need to push their children to be their best. As a parent's child becomes ten they are getting closer to when they want their parents to leave them alone, and this is the last chance for a parent to really get through to their child. Children will start wanting to listen to their friend's opinions rather than their mom's or dad's which they used to care about more. Their fine motor skills have gotten even better, now they can write better because they can control the muscles in their hands better. Children have a sense a humor their whole lives, but by this time they have developed the humor that they will keep for their lives. Children's appetite increases, which requires about three meals a day and they need about nine to ten hours or sleep a night. [10]

Teen

Once children hit twelve, they start to enter [puberty] and consider themselves [teenagers]. They start wanting more freedom and to be around their friends, not their family. Parents also need to make sure that their children are staying off of drugs and alcohol at this time because this can effect the way that their body ages. If someone becomes and alcoholic or starts smoking cigarettes, their body will not age well and they will see premature wrinkles and weakness. They also need to start healthy habits that they will carry into adulthood because their bodies will last longer and stay strong for a longer amount of time. Age twelve is when children start hitting puberty. Although every child hits puberty at different times and different rates, this is the average age for children to start. Girls hit puberty about two years before boys do. Girls start to develop secondary sexual characteristics such as growing pubic hair and breasts; they also change physically with a sudden growth spurt, and changes in their fat distribution areas. When boys hit puberty they begin testicular growth, have voice changes, and develop acne, pubic hair, and nocturnal emissions. Teens start to get tempted by eating disorders and steroids during this time because of all the awkward changes faced in the teenager's life. [11]

Adult

Adulthood is when most people try to reverse aging and do everything they can from looking and feeling old. People need to pick up good habits as early as possible so that they can carry them long into their lives. [12] When people become adults their cell development starts to slow down, especially cells in the immune system. A major thing that changes in the body's cells is that the process of apoptosis will stop working well. Apoptosis tells cells when to self-destruct at the appropriate times. People need this process because it helps the body's tissues stay healthy. Adults stop growing, and if they did not have a good posture as a child or teen it shows more now that they are adults. The spine starts to bend forward and there is a compression of the discs between the vertebrae, which can cause back pain. An adult's hips and knees will start to curve causing hip and knee injuries and pain. The joints in the feet start to weaken and change, and the arches of the feet will start to flatten, which can cause major foot pain. Men have to start watching their weight more closely until their mid-fifties and as they get older it will decrease. Women, once they reach adulthood, will start gaining weight until they are into their sixties, but will lose weight at a much slower rate than men. As people get older, their hearts stop working as well and keeping blood pressure under control becomes a major issue. Since the body has trouble taking care of your heart and blood vessels the body starts having trouble at regulating its temperature. The body now cannot keep itself warm when in prolonged cold climates and has a high risk of heat stroke when in the sun for too long. The body starts losing its ability to get a fever even when it is fighting a strong infection. [13]

Senior

Recently, people have been living longer by about twenty-five years because of new advances in technology and health care. However the longer someone lives the harder toll it takes on their body. People are starting to look older, but that is because they are living longer. The way a senior citizen will look when they get older really depends on the lifestyle that the person lived their whole lives. As someone gets older they face more chronic illnesses such as heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and arthritis. Although new medicine has helped solve or control some of these diseases (but not all of them) the best solution is keeping a healthy lifestyle with exercise and a good diet. Seniors will start losing bone tissue and the resiliency of blood vessels will start to weaken. They are also more susceptible to eye disease and diabetes. The functions of the body's cells, tissues, and organs start to change and slow many seniors down. More noticeable physical changes are wrinkles on the face, sagging skin, laugh or frown lines, graying hair, and bad posture. [1]

Disease

Both your genetics and the environment affect how quickly or slowly your body will age. The world plays a major part in how you age.

Hutchinson-Gilford progeria Syndrome

Babies who are born with Hutchinson-Gilford look fine at birth and into early infancy; as the grow older their bodies do not look older. They do not gain weight or grow as quickly as other children their age. These people end up getting abnormal features such as: prominent eyes, a thin nose with a beaked tip, thin lips, a small chin, and protruding ears. These are abnormal, but they are not the damaging features that these children can get. The other side affects of Hutchinson-Gilford are hair loss (alopecia), aged-looking skin, joint abnormalities, and a loss of fat under the skin (subcutaneous fat). These children still grow intellectually, and develop their motor skills even though they have all of their setbacks. They can still sit, stand, or walk. Some of these children face the risk of arteriosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries. This can cause a heart attack or a stroke at a very young age. Only few children, though, face these complications and have life-threatening issues from the syndrome. This is a very rare syndrome and only 1 in 4 million babies are born with this. The condition was first described in 1886, and only 130 cases have been reported ever since that time. [14].

Werner Syndrome

Werner does not start showing symptoms until the person hits puberty. The effects of Werner will not show until the teenage years, or when the person hits puberty, because the person will not have a growth spurt like most teenagers. Individuals with this syndrome will not see the real symptoms of Werner until they are in their twenties, when their hair will start to gray and bald, and they will develop a hoarse voice and thin, hardened skin. They will also have thin arms and legs, keep more fat in the abdomen, and their facial features are described as "bird like." As Werner keeps progressing some people will end up with disorders leading to aging a lot sooner than people their age; this includes cataracts (that they will get in both eyes), type 2 diabetes, skin ulcers, weakened fertility, hardening of the arteries, osteoporosis, which thins out the bones, and higher risks of certain cancers. People with Werner live into their forties or fifties; the biggest reason for their early death is because they are more susceptible to rare cancers and hardening of the arteries that leads to heart attacks. Werner is most common in Japan; which affects between 1 out of 20,000 to 1 out of 40,000. This syndrome is caused by mutations in the WRN gene. The WRN gene is there to protect the Werner gene, which performs many tasks to protect and maintain people's DNA. [15].

Down Syndrome

Girl who has Down Syndrome.
Main Article: Down Syndrome

There are about 1 in 740 babies who are born with Down syndrome and women of all ages can give birth to them, but as women get older they are at a greater risk of giving birth to a Downs baby. Babies who are born with Downs can have variety of birth defects, and about 50% of Down syndrome babies have a heart defect. Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition that affects and is associated with the development of a child intellectually and physically. These babies are normally born with poor muscle tone throughout infancy and affected facial features. Some are born with digestive abnormalities, such as blockage of the intestine. As the child grows, it is prone to develop more and more medical issues. These can include issues such as gastroesophageal reflux, which is a backflow of acidic acid of the stomach into the child's esophagus, and celiac disease, which causes the child to be allergic to gluten. About 1% of all children with Downs can develop leukemia, and 15% can get hypothyroidism, which causes them to have an under-active thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism causes the child to not produce enough hormones, which can lead to loss or weakening of their vision and hearing. Adults who have Down syndrome are at a higher risk of having Alzheimer's disease, which causes them to gradually lose their memory, judgment, and ability to function in daily tasks. Downs is caused by trisomy 21, which means that each cell has three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the normal two copies. Since the cells have an extra copy, this slows down the regular development and causes the characteristics of a Downs child.[16]

Treatments

There are not many treatments for aging that really help your body as much as living a good healthy life. People can slow down the process of aging and the wear on their body that aging produces by living a healthier lifestyle. If people do not smoke and do not drink, or reduce the amount that they drink, it can slow down the wear on their body. The more exercise you put into your life and the healthier you eat the longer the body will live. A positive outlook on life can also help and being able to control the amount of stress in your life also contributes. There are also many products that have come out to help slow down aging, including creams, lotions, and plastic surgery.

Anti-Aging Creams

The whole purpose of these creams is to make the man or woman look younger. Anti aging skin creams are supposed to minimize wrinkles, expression lines, blemishes, pigmentation changes, and discolorations. These products will work, but they cannot work forever. Eventually gravity will win and cause wrinkles on your face and all over your body. These creams will almost always have retinol, Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids, Peptides, Coenzyme Q10, Anti-oxidants, and different sunscreens. [17]

Plastic Surgery

There are many kinds of plastic surgeries to help prevent aging. There is botox, MesoLift, thermage for skin tightening, Obagi Blue Peel, hand lifting, VolumaLift for your face, neck lifts, tummy tucks, and many more types, but these are some of the basic steps. Plastic surgeons have come up with many ways to help prevent someone from looking their real age, and that might help them feel younger at the same time. [18]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Aging Process HowStuffWorks,Inc. 1998-2010
  2. New Clues in What Causes Aging By: Miranda Hitti WebMD Health News 2006
  3. What Causes Aging AntiAgingByDesign 31 May, 2009
  4. The Aging Process Dr. Emanuel M. Cane D.C. 1997-2010
  5. Infant Communication: What Do My Baby's Cries Mean? BC Interactive Media LLC 1998 - 2009
  6. Infant and Toddler Health Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research Jan. 8, 2010
  7. Your Infant's Vision Development By: Gary Heiting, OD. All About Vision. 2000-2010
  8. Infant and Toddler Health Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research Jan. 8, 2010
  9. INFANT HEARING Capitol Ear, Nose, and Throat, P.A.
  10. Growth Milestones KG Investments, LLC. 1999-2010
  11. Kids Growth KG Investments, LLC. 1999-2010.
  12. Family Science United States Department of Agriculture. 09/01/2009
  13. The Aging Process The Foundation of Health in Aging 2/28/2005
  14. Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome Genetics Home Guide. February 28, 2010
  15. Werner Syndrome Genetics Home Guide. February 28, 2010
  16. Down Syndrome Genetics Home Reference. February 28, 2010
  17. Anti-aging cream Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 25 February 2010
  18. Plastic Surgery for Anti-Aging Aging Arsenal 2010

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