29 August 2017

Aging is inexorable

Yuri Deigin, Geektimes

When I was just starting to run as a teenager, I remember being surprised by such a table in the gym:


I couldn't understand why the maximum heart rate that our heart is capable of decreases so inexorably with age. Does this really happen even for constantly training athletes? It can't be! At least between 20 and 40 people who lead a healthy lifestyle and regularly go in for sports can certainly keep their physical indicators at the same level – the naive Chukchi youth thought. 

And now more than 20 years have passed, and I understand on my own skin that – alas – no. It can be worsened. Slow down no. That is why there are practically no 35-year-old sprinters or 40–year-old football players in professional sports, and the peak age of swimmers is generally 21. Here's a great graph showing the age deceleration of both sprinters and stayers:


Guaranteed age–related decline in cardiac function is only one of the reasons why athletes have such a short peak period. Respiratory function deteriorates in unison:


Almost immediately after puberty, different systems of our body begin to slowly but surely deteriorate. And even this sad graph from Ben Best from my post about menopause and aging reflects only part of the inevitable age-related degradation to which our body is doomed:


Here is another graph from Mike Darwin's excellent article with a couple of additional indicators; it shows how quickly kidney function deteriorates with age (even "ageless" naked diggers are susceptible to age-related nephritis):


For me personally, the most unpleasant degradation is cognitive. Some aspects of it begin at the age of 27, and memory begins to deteriorate by the age of 40. At the same time, the brain atrophies even physically – between the ages of 22 and 82, we lose more than a third of its mass:


Moreover, a significant part of this loss is due to gray matter:


And to all this is added the risk of dementia, which after 60 years begins to double every 5 years.


The immune system begins to atrophy even earlier than the cognitive one. Thymus involution (that is, atrophy of the thymus gland) begins during puberty, and between 25 and 60 years its functional parameters deteriorate 20 times. Therefore, a simple flu that children carry for a week without any special consequences can be fatal for an elderly person. Here is a graph of age-related changes in the thymus:


Also, with age, we are guaranteed to weaken. Both strength and muscle mass begin to decrease by 1-2% per year after the age of 40. Fast muscle fibers begin to be replaced with slow ones with age.


Professional athletes also do not avoid age-related degradation of muscle strength:


Although the advantages of physical fitness persist for many years:


Our bones also atrophy after 35:


Vision begins to deteriorate much later, but after 70 years, many people experience problems with it:


Hearing is getting worse – its loss begins earlier and a much larger number of people are exposed to it:


Taste and sense of smell also deteriorate with age:


Although who needs them when there are less than half of the teeth left?


In general, aging is a real scourge. Or even HIV is an "Age–related human involution", which is probably programmed in our DNA, and threatens us all. And this genetic pathology must be treated, because it is the biggest source of pain and suffering in our universe.


Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru  29.08.2017

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