AGING AND STRESS
You are responsible for your own old age. After the age of 70 we can retrieve information about 70% slower and our short-term memory is also slowed down. There is decreased blood flow noticeable after age 55.
There is no loss of cognition unless we have diabetes or hardening of the arteries. Each brain cell has thousands of energy factories called mitochondria. They bring oxygen to energize the cells; these cells release oxygen free radicals.
These radicals attack the walls of the mitochondria and invade the inside DNA. They also cut the connection centers of the brain. You have a defense system of fighters that vaporize and destroy these free radicals.
After the age of 30 the defense system weakens. The brain cells start dying in the hippocampus and Alzheimer's begins. Only 4% of people under 75 display this drop; after 85, 50% of people show signs of brain damage.
The good news is that the brain makes new neurons when old ones die (Gould & Gage). However, stress causes a rapidity of brain damage, cortisol is released and new brain cell production stops.
A stimulating life style switches on genes in nerve cells and proteins are made that help new connections, neurons, and new blood vessels all grow. This boosts our performance and adds nearly 20% more brain cells.
By stimulating our minds we increase our memory banks. This means taking on new pursuits not just being active. The reticular cells in the brain stem need novelty to survive.
As you age, you undergo a major relocation and this results in more stress with the changes. You develop acute health and mental problems. You sit back and reflect and take satisfaction in your past accomplishments.
As you hit 80, you are increasingly weakened financially and physically. You are penalized because society values productivity, youth, and autonomy. Dying and death becomes your challenges.
Everyone ages at their own pace and are affected by various influences. You feel that time is now short too short to start another life, and lose the capacity to adapt and you have less ability to survive stress. You become more vulnerable and your body functions decline, as your reserve capacity diminishes and you undergo cellular aging.
Fearing death, we spend our lives in doctor’s offices and our money at the pharmacies. We undergo knee and hip replacements, pacemakers, cardiac stents, chemotherapy, and bypass surgery in an attempt to add a few months to our lives.
We look for immortality and think our long life is not good enough unless we can package it as "eternal youth".
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