Aging – the riddle

We all age and die. The length of our lives vary a lot, but expected lifespans in most countries are increasing all the time. People older than a 100 years are no longer a rarity, there are more and more in many countries. Reaching an age of 125 is not uncommon any more. We say that this is due to better fitness, nutrition, cleaner air, good medicines and so on.

But recent research is introducing doubts: It seems the fittest, the vegetarians and others do not live longer than others – when data are “cleaned” and made comparable. Do we really know what is causing the process of aging in humans? It is rather amazing that we can not say for sure – yet.

Researchers are trying to find the mechanisms in the body that controls it all. It seems they are rather complex, and of both the physical and mental kind.

The chemicals in the body are many, and one called telomerase has been tested in connection with aging. Adjusting the level of telomerase was thought to affect aging but so far no certain effect has been seen. Research is continuing. Other substances may be effective, and the search is really on for a drug that can combat aging.

But there are other angles: genes seems to be important – it has been established that some genes make life longer, and this has been seen in special groups of people with similar genes. It also seems that some genes are bad, leading to diverse illnesses like diabetes, cancer, heart failure. Research into the mechanisms of genes is continuing. Many people with so called good genes can live very long whatever kind of life they lead.

Nutrition and fitness are constantly referred to in connection with aging, and physical wellness seems to be a contributing factor. It seems that compensating for weaknesses by sound nutrition and training gives good results.

But increasing importance is being given to your mental state: What do you think, how do you feel, how do you behave. If you can manage a good mental life, happiness, give and receive love, plan ahead, be optimistic, be selfsufficient in practical matters,  your chances of a good long life is improved. And then it will be good to – being active, laughing  and loving your way into old age.

So there  we are: We do not have a complete picture of what causes aging, it surely is complex, but if you do not sit back and let yourself grow old your chances of a long and good life will improve.

May be medicines are a bad idea, and unnecessary too, for most people?

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