THE RESEARCHES ON ORGANS AGING
Aging is about much more than grey hair and wrinkles. Anyone over the age of 30 is aware that aging affects various body parts to varying degrees. One 50-year-old has the quick metabolism of a teenager, while someone else’s metabolism is so creaky that he got type 2 diabetes—even though his immune system is that of a 25-year-old.
DIFFERENT ORGANS AGE DIFFERENTLY
While most people think of aging as the progressive deterioration of the whole body, a study indicates that age affects organs in dramatically distinct ways. Research published in Cell Systems on September 17, 2015, presents the first complete examination of how cellular proteins age in various organs, demonstrating significant changes between the liver and brain of young and elderly rats. The findings indicate that the rate at which an organ matures may be determined by its specific cellular features and physiological function inside the body. Using genomics and proteomics, they could compare protein levels in the liver and brain of young and elderly rats.
According to a new study, not all of our body’s organs age equally. According to research published in the journal Genome Biology, Steve Horvath, a geneticist at UCLA’s medical school, has developed a novel method for determining the biological age of body tissue. Horvath developed the metric by analyzing data from 8,000 samples of 51 different cells and tissues. He investigated methylation, a process that alters the structure of DNA and regulates gene expression. This process transforms undifferentiated cells into specialized tissues.
But once tissue-specific cells are generated, they are exposed to substances that age them and modify their DNA. Heart cells, for example, have distinct DNA modifications than skin cells. It was observed that when we are born, our bodies expand rapidly. By the age of 20, the clock slows and becomes more steady. It was also discovered that various organs age at different rates, with breasts being among the “oldest” in the body. Breast tissue is two to three years older than the rest of a woman’s body, whereas healthy tissue surrounding malignant tissue is 12 years older.
Horvath also determined the age of cancer cells. According to the biological clock, tumor tissue is on average 36 years older than normal, healthy human tissue. This may help to explain why cancer becomes a more significant danger as we age. Additionally, the study discovered that a woman’s breast tissue matures many years more rapidly than the rest of her body, which may help explain why breast cancer is the most frequent kind of cancer in women. Please find out more about Breast Cancer and how to combat it. In our article, Click here.
Picture Courtesy: www.businessinsider.com/some-parts-of-your-body-age-faster-2013-10. This image shows at what average age the certain organs in males and females start to decline.
These DNA ages of tissues are different for men and women. The following table summarizes different organs aging.
|Eyes||Vision change is a prevalent condition among individuals aged 41 to 60.|
|Muscles||Age-related muscle loss is a natural aspect of aging. After the age of 30, it is found to begin to lose between 3% and 5% of your height every decade. During their lifetimes, most men will lose around 30% of their muscular mass.|
|Bones||Most adults attain maximal bone mass between 25 and 30. After 40, people start losing bone mass.|
|Lungs||The lungs develop between 20 and 25 years old. Lung function often declines beyond the age of 35.|
|Skin||According to experts, skin aging typically begins around the age of 25.|
|Brain||The brain’s total volume diminishes in the 30s or 40s and accelerates around age 60. But the volume loss isn’t consistent – certain parts decrease more quickly than others.|
|Heart||Adults 65 years and older are more prone to suffer from cardiovascular disease than younger adults.|
|Kidneys||The conventional “Rule of Thumb” is that kidney function begins to diminish around the age of 40 and continues to decline at a rate of approximately 1% each year after that.|
|Ovaries||By the age of 30, fertility begins to drop. Once women reach their mid-30s, this drop accelerates.|
|Prostate||Starting around age 25, the adult prostate begins to enlarge slowly.|
|Breasts||Most breast aging changes occur around menopause. This change usually happens between 45 and 55.|
HOW DO OUR ORGANS AGE? WHAT CAUSES IT?
Cells are the fundamental constituents of tissues and organs. All cells undergo modifications as they age. They grow in size and lose their ability to split and replicate—the number of pigments and fatty compounds within the cell increases, among other changes. Numerous cells either cease to function or begin to act improperly. Waste materials accumulate in tissue as we age. Lipofuscin, a fatty brown pigment, and other fatty compounds accumulate in numerous tissues.
Throughout age, all essential organs begin to lose function. Organs aging occurs as you age due to cell and tissue composition changes. Organs that are deteriorating steadily lose their ability to function. Most individuals do not feel this loss right away since they often do not require their organs to work to their maximum capacity. Organs aging changes occur in every cell, tissue, and organ in the body, affecting the functioning of every human body system.
Heart disease accounts for 40% of deaths among adults aged 65 to 74. (60% for those over 80).
- The most prevalent alteration associated with aging is an increase in the stiffness of the big arteries, referred to as arteriosclerosis of arterial hardening.
- Changes in the electrical system associated with aging can result in arrhythmias—a fast, slowed, or irregular heartbeat.
- The heart’s chambers may enlarge, thus overall increasing the heart size.
Aging can alter the heart and blood arteries, increasing an individual’s chance of getting cardiovascular disease. That is why adults 65 or older are more prone to develop heart disease.
Most Americans’ hearts are older than their true organ age according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Your lungs’ greatest capacity for air—your total lung capacity—is around 6 liters. As with other organs, age has its toll on the respiratory system. The ability to perform at the highest level steadily diminishes over time.
By the time a person reaches the age of roughly 20-25, the lungs have matured. After the age of 35, their function begins to deteriorate, and as a result, breathing might gradually become more complex. In an individual without lung illness, most of these alterations are caused by changes in the circulatory and muscular systems, not by the lungs themselves. Other significant changes include:
- The diaphragm can weaken over time, affecting one’s capacity to inhale and exhale with the help of this muscle.
- Ribcage bones grow thinner and more irregular form, impairing the ribcage’s ability to extend and contract while breathing.
- Cough-inducing nerves become less sensitive to foreign particles. Particles that accumulate in the lungs can cause lung disease.
- The immune system may deteriorate as individuals age, making people more susceptible to influenza (the flu) and pneumonia.
Being one of the organs that age the fastest, the kidney exhibits age-related declines in some structures and functioning.
- Between 30 and 80 years, kidney mass diminishes, with the greatest drop occurring after age 50.
- Around the age of 30 to 40, around two-thirds of individuals (including those without kidney impairment) see a gradual decrease in the pace at which their kidneys filter blood. By 75, even in typical aging kidneys, 30% of glomeruli are damaged.
- The bladder wall undergoes modification and weakens over time. The elastic tissue stiffens and the bladder loses its stretchiness. The bladder is unable to contain as much urine as it once could.
- While most men undergo benign prostate gland growth as they age, this prostatic hyperplasia can potentially be a symptom of cancer. Learn more about prostate health here.
- According to research, around 11.6% of adults aged 65 to 80 years suffer incontinence; this number increases to approximately 35% in those over 85.
- As the brain ages, the number of neurons decreases, neurotransmitters get depleted, and blood flow decreases to the brain.
- The brain loses roughly 0.1% of neurons every year between 20 and 60, then the process accelerates.
- Gait difficulties (unable to walk in the usual way), postural hypotension (lightheadedness when standing up from sitting or lying down), decreased bladder control, and loss of short-term memory are all examples of age-related nervous system impairments.
- By 90, brain mass will have declined by roughly 11% compared to those in their 50s, or around 150g of neural tissue.
- It’s not always easy to differentiate between normal cognitive changes and dementia-related cognitive alterations. Normal aging results in a loss in brain reserve, although cognition is preserved due to the brain’s inherent diversity and neurological adaptation.
The Stomach and Digestive System
The prevalence of some gastrointestinal problems is alarmingly high among the elderly. For example, more than half of senior residents in care facilities suffer from chronic constipation, and up to 74% of this population uses laxatives on a regular basis.
- In older people, reduced appetite and food intake may lead to weight loss and malnutrition.
- Dry mouth is a frequent symptom of aging.
- Peristalsis slows down with age in the esophagus and colon, resulting in dysphagia, reflux, and constipation.
- Age-related changes in the number of gut microbes increase the risk of bacterial infection.
- With age, stomach emptying slows down, extending feelings of fullness and decreasing hunger.
The Reproductive Organs Aging (Male /Female)
- Middle age affects both men and women and results in modifications to the reproductive system that eventually result in infertility – although males remain fertile for a longer period of time. Check out how aging affects fertility in this article and other factors causing infertility here.
- Between middle and old age, fertility declines gradually as the production of sex hormones alters.
- Women go through significant changes in their estrogen and progesterone levels during perimenopause and menopause. Around 95% of women go through menopause between 44 and 56 years, the average age being 50.7 – read more about menopause here.
- Men also undergo hormonal changes, although the andropause symptoms are less severe than those experienced by women. Men begin to see a decline in serum testosterone levels of around 1-1.4 % every year in their 30s.
HOW DIFFERENTLY DO MEN AND WOMEN AGE?
Without a doubt, men and women age differently, and so do their organs. Genetics, lifestyle, diet, and environment affect how people of either gender age, but men and women age at a completely distinct rate and pace. Let’s discuss how aging differs between men and women.
- Hormones. Aging affects several hormones in men and women. Changes in estrogen levels associated with aging are a major source of concern for women. This is especially true during and following menopause. Changes in testosterone levels are the primary hormonal component of aging in males. Males may undergo a more progressive reduction in their hormone levels, for example, gradually lowered testosterone levels about 1% per year after the age of 30.
- Skin Related Changes. Male skin is 25% thicker than female skin, say, dermatologists. The proportion may vary from person to person, but the total is the same. Male faces have far fewer wrinkles than women’s, but they are deeper than their female counterparts.
- Longevity. According to a study published in Gender Medicine and other research on worldwide life expectancy, women have lived longer than males in every country and age. Males now have an average life expectancy of 69-70 years, while females have an average life expectancy of 73-77 years (although it will vary according to where you live and what resources you have access to in terms of nutrition and lifestyle, and health care).
- Brain Aging. Men and women age difference in their brains. Men who are obese, have diabetes or have had a stroke are at an increased risk of cognitive impairment. On the other hand, women are more likely to experience mental impairment if they rely on others for everyday chores and do not have a strong social network.
- Sexual Functions. Male and female sexual function and aging are markedly different. With menopause, a woman’s body responds rapidly to aging, but a man’s body responds more gradually.
The illustrations for men’s and women’s organ aging are based on text descriptions. The healthspan and longevity trends are from Li et al., 2021.
HOW TO COPE UP AND REDUCE THE PACE OF ORGANS AGING?
Aging experts believe that there are positive actions you can take to make your “golden years” more joyful and healthy. Additionally, they may add a decade or more to your life.
- Engage Your Brain. Staying mentally active throughout life can reduce the effects of age on the nervous system. By engaging in brain activities, you can maintain or improve your cognitive performance. Several brain-engaging activities have been proven to improve the mental level and reduce organ aging. For example, jigsaw puzzles, playing cards, music, meditation, or even learning a new language can boost your brain and mental health.
- Stay Active, Live Longer. Exercise serves to reduce the physical and emotional consequences of organs aging. Staying active or doing exercises have proven to be a method to reduce stress, it is good for aging organs such as muscles and bones, also increases the skin’s health, and reduces signs of aging. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise every day, 5 days a week. To learn more about what exercises to follow, click here.
- Do Yoga. Yoga has proven to be an effective lung exercise along with cardio to reduce the signs of organ aging.
- Follow A Medical Checkup Routine. Routine doctor visits are the most effective approach to prevent or cure illness early or find out about any organ aging. While perspectives vary, the following guidelines are typically advised for routine doctor visits: once every 3 years if you’re under the age of 50 and in good health and once a year as you turn 50.
- Consume Alcohol In Moderation. Alcohol can impair the function of several important organs and accelerate organ aging. While heavy drinkers are more likely to develop cirrhosis (permanent liver damage), even moderate drinking can result in complications such as fatty liver disease. Additionally, it may make it more difficult for your kidneys to function normally. Women with a healthy liver should limit the consumption of a maximum of 1 drink per day (or 7 drinks in 1 week). Men with a healthy liver should not exceed the consumption of 2 drinks daily (or 14 drinks in 1 week). Interested in more options to limit your alcohol intake? Read our exclusive article.
- Quit Smoking. Tobacco also causes rapid organ aging. Inhaling cigarette smoke raises the chance of infertility and early menopause in women, and second-hand smoke has the same effect. It is the leading cause of preventable death. Quitting is hard, but a doctor can help you develop a strategy that works for you. We have a dedicated article for quitting methods for smoking here.
- Sunscreen For Skin Anti-Aging. Sunscreen shields your skin from harmful UV rays that can cause premature aging. Meanwhile, check out this article to learn about how skin age and the solutions to anti-age.
- Eat Well to Stay Young. Small modifications in your dietary habits can significantly reduce your chance of developing a variety of aging-related disorders. Each day includes healthy food: fruit, vegetables, protein, healthy fats, whole grains, antioxidant-rich foods, and low-fat dairy products.
- Lose Some Weight. Slight changes can have a significant influence on organs aging. It has been proven in research that losing 5% of your body weight reduces your risk of diabetes and heart disease and improves metabolic function in the liver, fat, and muscle tissue. That means that a 200-pound person can experience significant health advantages just by dropping 10 pounds!
- Drink Water. Have you ever felt hazy-headed? Pour a glass of water. According to small research on adult men from China published in June 2019 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, dehydration impairs memory, attention, and energy. Maintaining an adequate electrolyte balance is critical for proper physiological function. Aim for almost 8 glasses of water in a day.