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Is Ageing Inevitably Associated with Disease - Essay Example

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Is ageing inevitably associated with disease? Name University Is ageing inevitably associated with disease? Introduction: Phenomenon of aging is universally applicable and is well understood by most as a natural physiological process whereby changes take place in a human body that leads to ageing…
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Is Ageing Inevitably Associated with Disease
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Download file to see previous pages Our body consists of a very organized system in which every organ plays a vital role to sustain life. The mechanical wear and tear in these organs over time is one factor among many that contributes to certain disease processes. Hormones also play a key role in maintaining and stabilizing the internal environment of our body. Therefore hormonal changes that take place during old age also results in degenerative changes. Interesting fact about a normal somatic human cell is that it can replicate for a fixed number of times before it lose its capability of division and enters a state of arrested growth known as replicative senescence. (Balducci et al 2005). Theories of Ageing: Various theories on the basis of ageing have been proposed by many scientists and researchers around the globe. These theories are mostly interlinked as one might support the other theory. (Bengtson et al 1999) Free radical theory was first introduced by Denham Harman in 1956 and according to this theory our body cells undergoes destruction due to interactions with these free radicals over time. (Farley et al 2010). These free radicals are unstable molecules which interact with stable molecules of our cells and also transform them into unstable free radicals. Therefore, it is a vicious cycle and many factors may contribute to excess production of these free radicals such as cigarette smoking, infections, exposure to x-rays or toxins (Chop et al 1999). This theory goes hand in hand with the mitochondrial decline theory. Mitochondria are the power house of human cell and are by far one of the most important organelle in the cell. Because of its property of handling chemical reactions that involves breaking down molecules make it a source of production for these free radicals. Therefore they damage the mitochondria and shut down the power house of cell eventually leading to death. It has been concluded that with age the mitochondrial machinery becomes rusty making it more likely to produce these free radicals. (Farage et al 2010). As I mentioned before many physiological changes during old age is attributed to hormonal changes. The neuro-endocrine theory (Dilman et al 1992) partially explains how these hormone deficiencies take place. This theory was first proposed by Vladimir Dilman and highlights the complex biochemical changes that correspond to decrease functioning of hypothalamus. Hypothalamus is a main regulator of hormones in our body and responds by various negative feedback mechanisms. But ageing can cause a disruption in its function and the most likely explanation for this dysfunction is cortisol accumulation. Cortisol is produced by adrenal gland is regarded as a stress hormone but it has also been associated with gradual destruction of hypothalamus. Hence with age, destruction reaches a certain limit where it affects the normal function of this gland thus indirectly interfering with other hormone production in a body. Cross linking or glycosylation theory of ageing also explains many diseases in old age. In the presence of oxygen, glucose can bind to different proteins, a process known as “glycosylation”. This additional structure on a protein can disrupt its shape and interfere with its function. The longer a person lives the greater the chance that glycosylation will take place. Therefore these glycoproteins accumulate in the body leading to various problems which I will discuss under the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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