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Why We Age

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Growing old is a fact of life, and it’s inevitable.

Our bones become brittle, skin starts to wrinkle, muscles get weaker, and energy plummets. These are the typical signs of aging. But, why do we age? The average life expectancy in the US is only 77 years. Can we do better? If so, how much longer can we live?

Cell Division

Naturally, cells divide only a certain amount of times in the body. The cell division process begins at the time of conception and is necessary for the development and growth of a life. As we grow, cells divide and multiply; however, as we continue to get older cell division slows down.
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Telomeres

At the University of Utah, Dr. Richard Cawthon and his colleagues discovered that shorter telomeres are correlated with shorter lives. Telomeres are stretches of DNA which protects our genetic information from being destroyed. It is; however, that when cells divide, these telomeres get shorter. Ultimately,when they get too short, cells can no longer divide. This shortening has been directly linked with not just ageing and cancer, but a higher risk of death, as well.

Epigenetic Factors

Many People have a common, pre-conceived understanding that only genetics play a key role in how long we live (i.e. “My father died of a heart attack at the age of 50, and so will I”). While to some degree this is true, there are other positive epigenetic factors that play an even bigger role. Epigenetic factors are essentially the overall lifestyle changes made that can disrupt your own genetic make-up. Perhaps, this is how we can extend not just our lives, but the quality of life as well.
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