What Impacts Our Healthspan?
Healthspan: The part of a person’s life during which they are generally in good health.
From the moment we are born, our bodies start to age. The diet and lifestyle choices we make can influence our health in the future. Beyond our daily health choices, we have internal mechanisms and pathways that also impact how we age. Telomere attrition, cellular senescence, and genomic instability are three key age influencing functions we are highlighting today
The genetic “blueprint” for the human body is contained within 23 tiny structures that live in the nucleus of cells called chromosomes. The average human experiences approximately 10 quadrillion cellular divisions throughout a lifetime. With each division, small pieces of DNA break off, shortening critical chromosomes. Telomeres — tiny caps of genetic material — protect the ends of vital chromosomes, but they inevitably suffer wear and tear (or attrition), contributing to age-related declines in health.
Cellular senescence happens when once-proliferating cells become old and cease to work properly. This is a normal part of being human, but the rate of this phenomenon accelerates as we age. Senescent cells secrete inflammatory mediators, which act like tiny “zombies,” infecting healthy cells around them, causing a decline in the health of the entire body.
As we age, our DNA’s integrity is continuously challenged by both external and internal stressors, such as environmental toxins and byproducts of our own cellular metabolism.
These can irreversibly change our genome and garble the “instructions” our genes give out. Our bodies know how to repair DNA, but these mechanisms are compromised as we age. Telomere attrition, cellular senescence, and genomic instability are only three of nine age influencing factors. To learn about the other six and what you can do to make an impact on these factors, visit our website.
What’s to Come
In the coming weeks, we will teach you about longevity and how to take care of your patients to be less susceptible to a multitude of age-related conditions that can impact healthspan.
The Quicksilver Scientific Team