Here is a fact of life: every one of us gets old. We naturally get easily fatigued when we grow old. We usually have weakened bones and that we are more susceptible to various illnesses when we age.
Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Macular Degeneration, Cataracts, Diabetes, and a host of other problems could potentially come up when you are old. Even though there are a couple of treatments and medications available for helping treat the aforementioned conditions, we still do not know exactly why we age. In other words, even the scientists do not know any substantial information about the aging process.
“We are programmed to die”, said Derick Rossi, Stem Cell Biologist at Harvard University. He added that as years go by, we age so quickly and in so many ways.
According to the different studies about aging, the phenomenon can actually be traced back to the genomic levels. You could say that impairments in DNA repair processes and the accumulation of various mutations could potentially have an effect on the aging process.
Our Body’s Natural Mechanism
It is a known fact that our bodies are well-equipped to repair whatever it is that’s broken. For instance, our DNA sequence may experience many changes, especially with the introduction of UV radiation or reactive oxygen species (ROS).
In most cases, our bodies are able to initiate DNA repair sequences to fix any damage on a cellular level. However, there might come a time where errors may slip past and, therefore, accumulate as we continue to grow old.
It is also a fact that as we age, our DNA repair mechanism deteriorates in its ability to initiate some fixes which may lead to permanent damage and it may be more common amongst older people or organisms.
Our cells experience Senescence or a process of non-replication due to the fact that some of our DNA have become way too damaged. Whenever we lose cells, it could potentially lead to tissue dysfunction or atrophy.
You also have to take note that senescent cells, even though they are mostly dormant, may hasten the aging process because it can secrete cytokines- inflammatory agents that may lead to age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Atherosclerosis, and more.
Our cells have the ability to self-divide on its own. But, our DNA scaffolding proteins change as we grow old. They are responsible for helping to stabilize the genome and once it reaches an old enough state, it may contribute to increased senescence, impaired cell division, among other age-related mechanisms.
The cells in our body, as we know it before, just grow old and die as we. But, Paul Robbins, a researcher at Scripps Research Institute, said that the process of aging could introduce cell regulators that may circulate in our blood.
An example of such regulators is the GDF11 or the growth differentiation factor 11. This regulator manipulates the gene expression patterns in mammalian embryos and its numbers decrease as we age.
In other words, our cells just do not die on its own- they actually undergo certain processes as we grow old.