If there is one thing that we fear in our youth, it is aging. Throughout time, people have searched high and low for a way to stop or at least slow down aging. While there is no “miracle cure” for the progression of life, there are ways to avoid premature aging. You may not be able to stop yourself from getting older, but you can prevent yourself from aging too fast.
There are some common issues that are rampant in society today that speed up the aging process and act as age accelerators. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top three aging accelerators that have more people looking and feeling older than their actual age. With an understanding of what can affect your aging process, you’ll be better able to take care of yourself to slow down and practice healthy habits that will keep you looking younger for longer.
What exactly is an aging accelerator? While there are several diseases and causes that are being purported to cause faster aging in individuals, from HIV to stress and cancer, first, we want to take a look at what constitutes the process of aging.
We can see it happen before our eyes in the people around us. Their hair color changes, wrinkles appear, skin starts sagging, and signs of youth start to disappear. To dive deeper into the process of accelerated aging one has to first understand the four domains of aging. They are:
Body composition changes – from increased visceral mass to reduced bone density and the reduction of muscle mass and quality, the way that our body functions can change with the progression of life.
Energy balance – lower fitness levels and energy efficiency decline begin to show up as we get older. Many people start to feel these changes as young as their late 30s, with a continued decrease in the following decades. A lower metabolic rate isn’t uncommon with aging.
Neurodegeneration – a lot of people can pinpoint this kind of aging phenotype in their close ones. Decreased cognitive functionality, brain atrophy, and impaired balance are just a few ways that neurodegeneration shows up in the elderly.
Impaired homeostatic mechanisms – the lowering of testosterone, an increase of insulin resistance, and anemia are just a few other hallmarks of aging, along with chronic inflammation.
With a clearer understanding of the main phenotypes of aging, we can take a better look at the aging accelerators that may have people experiencing these issues sooner rather than later.
While the list of aging accelerators continues to grow by the day, there are three main aging accelerators affecting people in this day and age. This list isn’t comprehensive by any means, but these three components have definitely shown up as top reasons for looking and feeling older than one should for their age:
With this in mind, let’s take a look at how you can understand whether or not these accelerators are affecting you.
What if you could avoid aging accelerators? What if instead of aging quicker, you could prolong your youthful appearance and health for longer? In order to do this, one needs to take the time to understand whether or not hormonal balance, obesity, or chronic inflammation are affecting you right now.
Understanding if you have hormonal imbalance issues is the first thing to do if you want to know whether or not you’re suffering from this top aging accelerator. Here are a few common symptoms that you may be experiencing if you have a hormonal imbalance:
Cold or heat intolerance
Additionally, some people experience issues with anxiety or depression as a cause of these symptoms, which can also be a signal of hormonal imbalance. There are various ways to find out if you have a hormonal imbalance, with the most common option being a blood test.
A doctor will typically order a test that is designed specifically for your gender to get a more accurate look at whether or not your hormones are imbalanced and if they are causing issues with premature aging.
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Obesity as an aging accelerator can be a bit more difficult to test for. With that said, it is one of the most studied accelerators due to the fact that it is often associated with issues like metabolic imbalances and diabetes, as well as heart health and sleep apnea.
Obesity is known to be a factor in telomere shortening which is a component of aging. Because progressive shortening can impact the lifespan of a person, due to apoptosis, senescence, and changing of somatic cells, it’s important to pay attention to how oxidative stress from obesity can lead to DNA damage which in turn shortens telomere length.
Many people may fall into the “obesity category” due to a few pounds of extra weight along with age and height and other life factors, but to truly understand how to know if obesity is affecting you as an aging accelerator, it’s important to look at the following:
How is your BMI?
How are your eating habits?
Do you get regular exercise?
If you have a relatively average BMI and tend to eat a nutritional diet, while you may be slightly overweight, you may not be at risk for aging acceleration due to obesity. However, the best way to test if you should change your lifestyle to avoid premature aging is to get blood tests to test your cholesterol, liver, thyroid, and blood sugar levels which can help your medical provider understand if anything in your makeup points toward issues with your health and aging.
Additionally, testing your BMI as well as cardiovascular health can help you understand whether or not you need some lifestyle changes to prevent age acceleration.
Much like obesity and often in hand with obesity, chronic inflammation can affect your telomere function and length, which in turn can lead to a host of issues that are markers for age acceleration. Often linked to obesity, as it’s typically caused by a poor diet low in important nutrients, chronic inflammation can lead to a host of issues that are typically only found in the elderly.
Additionally, individuals who suffer from autoimmune conditions may deal with chronic inflammation. How do you know if you have chronic inflammation? Here are a few ways to find out if you have chronic inflammation associated with age acceleration:
Issues with obesity
Type 2 diabetes
Some autoimmune diseases
From laboratory testing to monitoring, there are different ways to test for chronic inflammation in individuals. However, if you’re experiencing the abovementioned issues, you may be more at risk for age acceleration and could benefit from treatment.
While chronic inflammation, obesity, and hormonal imbalance are top aging accelerators and can lead to a host of health issues, understanding whether or not you have these issues can help you seek treatment and lifestyle changes that could help you slow down the process.
Here are a few examples of things that you can do to take care of your health as it comes to these aging accelerators:
These are five important lifestyle changes:
Eat a healthier diet, which can help you not only manage your weight but also help with everything from chronic inflammation, as well as hormonal imbalances. From lean proteins to a diet rich in antioxidants and nutrients, adjusting your food intake can benefit you. In more serious cases, getting hormone replacement therapy for hormonal imbalance could be something suggested by your doctor.
Manage stress, as it can lead to an increase in cortisol, as well as cause chronic inflammation. Stress also leads to poor sleep habits and can impact your overall quality of life, and dietary choices, which in turn can lead to obesity.
Get exercise, which can be greatly beneficial for all of these issues, from obesity to hormonal imbalances. Movement is a key component of a healthy lifestyle and is known to be important for telomere lengthening. It is also useful in weight management, as well as managing health issues related to chronic inflammation.
While these options are ideal for anyone who is looking to make lifestyle changes, your medical provider can help determine the best medical treatment for any health conditions that you may have.
As you can see above, hormonal imbalance, chronic inflammation, and obesity are some of the top aging accelerators. By paying attention to symptoms and getting tests done with your doctor, you can understand if you’re on the right track for optimal living and longevity in your life.
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