Lifestyle

Decoding longevity – the science of graceful and delayed ageing

Living forever while appearing and experiencing young and illness-free life is not at all synonymous. Humans are splurging more months at the expense of age-related chronic illnesses, even though their lifespans are increasing. In short, instead of acquiring additional months of energy and excellent health, we have been gaining additional months of sickness.

Only recently researchers have been able to characterize “ageing” and “longevity” independently, thanks to the substantial breakthroughs in decoding technology and computational techniques. But the question is why should you know the difference? As the English proverb goes “Keep your friends close and enemies closer”

“Ageing”

Senescence, or just a reduction in our biological activities and also our capacity to adjust under metabolic strain, is due to ageing! It is tough to describe ageing in a single sentence. Ageing entails the loss of abilities, yet it could possess certain advantages.

Ageing is a biological phenomenon, comprising cognitive, interpersonal, and other factors. Our systems gradually lose their capacity to operate from a purely biological standpoint.

The term “Ageing” is a dynamic one. When talked about socially, it often indicates the experience and wisdom of a person, and when talked about casually, it refers to just a number. However, when talked about biologically, it is not always very pleasant.

“Longevity”

On the other hand, when scientists talk about the term “longevity,” they are frequently referring to all of the following notions at once: extending one’s optimum life expectancy, improving one’s average health, and eventually slowing down the rate of ageing.

Longevity is governed by evolutionarily chosen genes for reproduction benefit, according to scientists who used complicated mathematics to prove it. Grandparenthood, for example, could be viewed as an unintended consequence of set genetic programming that maximizes growth, maturity, and reproduction, and assures offspring’s reproductive fitness.

But usually, when we talk about lifetime, we tend to overlook the fact that the majority of our final decades are spent in hospital beds, battling the dangers of age-related diseases.

Longevity is the true solution to such problems. It refers to extending a person’s lifespan so that their biology remains functional and youthful for a longer period of time. Meaning even though death is irreversible we still get to enjoy more pit stops before we reach the end of the road!!

To conclude

Just because the above two notions are not the same does not imply they are not at all related.

The pace of ageing may alter the duration of life, and differentiating human biological ageing from longevity could be challenging.

Lifespan, as well as longevity, are unrelated to neither improving health nor ageing (according to a particular school of thought!!). That is to say, distinct forces are at work.

Biological ageing is a process of accumulation of structural and functional damage that leads to an overall decline in the organism’s optimal biology.

Although ageing, was “inevitable” at one point in time we could postpone such grand inevitabilities.

You could say ageing is an unavoidable and permanent phenomenon, but this does not necessarily mean a bad thing.

Humanity has reached a tipping point in terms of lifespan, and the accompanying shifts that is set to impact our economies, relations, vocations, and more in the next few years. However, we know this much that trying to cope with the ever-fast tempo of such developments, as well as trying to determine what or how we could incorporate such developments into our personal lives, will prove to be extremely difficult but not unachievable. While today’s approaches in medicine focus more on predictive and preventive measures, it is imperative that we pay attention to any ‘red flags’ that have been disposed of.

(Darshit Patel, Chief Scientific Officer, Decode Age)

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