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Aging

Like machines all creatures have built in obsolescence. As we age we will experience progressive loss of physiological capacity. Starting with decline in sensory perception like hearing loss (Presbycusis), decrease in Visual acuity (Presbyopia), declining hormone levels, loss of muscle mass and bone mass, aging takes a toll on our health slowly but steadily. Atherosclerosis results in inflammation and vascular changes which in turn increases the risk for cardiac issues, cerebrovascular issues, peripheral vascular disease and cognitive impairment. This biological deterioration is considered a major risk factor for cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease among others. Unlike the loss of physical strength due to aging, Brain aging does not happen at a uniform rate. Age related Cognitive impairment depends on a number of factors such as education, mental stimulation, physical exercises, religious conviction, bonding with family and friends.


Aging Process

At the cellular level, there are 2 key hallmarks of the aging process: shortening of telomere length and cellular senescence. Telomeres,sequences of DNA located at the end of the chromosomes maintain genomic stability. Telomeres shorten during mitosis (replication) and this shortening of Telomeres is thought to be the cause of several diseases, low physical performance/endurance and cortical thinning of the brain. Shortening of Telomeres can be the direct result of inheritance but other factors play a larger role such as :

  • Stress
  • Lack of exercise, sedentary life style
  • Excessive Body Mass Index
  • Smoking
  • Excessive Alcohol consumption
  • Drug Abuse
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Vitamin/Mineral Deficiency
  • Oxidative Stress
TargetWoman AI artist impression of aging in a woman Animated TargetWoman AI artist impression of aging in a woman

Cellular Senescence : The primary purpose of senescence is to prevent propagation of damaged cells by triggering their elimination via the immune system. But the accumulation of senescent cells with aging reflects either an increase in the generation of these cells or the elimination of these cells.

Recent research indicates that there are several drugs and some life style changes can reduce the telomere shortening rate. Diets and supplements play a role as much as a rigorous exercise regimen. There are drugs and supplements which show great potential in slowing down the onset of age related diseases. Resveratrol, a powerful auto-oxidant found in large quantities in red wine is one such agent. Resveratrol has helped slow down aging in animals in some research. Resveratrol supplements have shown promise in reducing the age related cognitive decline, improve general health conditions by lowering bad cholesterol and lowering inflammation.

Other drugs such as rapamycin and metformin have shown some potential in slowing down aging process in a different way. But these drugs have not been approved outside the labs to have any impact at this time.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a technique where placing the subject in an oxygen rich chamber (100% oxygen in an environmental pressure higher than one absolute atmosphere) to enhance the amount of oxygen dissolved in body's tissues.HBOT can induce cognitive enhancements through positive changes in cerebral blood flow. Some studies indicate that HBOT can induce the expression of hypoxia induced factor (HIF), vascular endothelial growth factor and sirtuin (SIRT), stem cell proliferation, mitochondrial biogenesis, angiogenesis and neurogenesis.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is considered as a regular treatment option for non-healing wounds, radiation injuries, hypoxic or ischemic events (carbon monoxide toxicity) and some infections.

DHEA

DHEA Dehydroepiandrosterone is a steroid hormone that is naturally produced by adrenal or the stress glands in the body. The dominant hormone in the body gets converted into other hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, progesterone and corticosterone.


DHEA levels are high in the 20s and early 30s, the average being about 25mg per day. The level declines with age. Besides the aging factor, decline in DHEA levels can be attributed to diseases such as end stage kidney disease, AIDS, anorexia, adrenal insufficiency and type 2 diabetes.

Intake of medications such as insulin, opiates, corticosteroids and danazol also contribute to DHEA depletion. DHEA - dehydroepiandrosterone (or Androstenolone as it is sometimes called) levels can be maintained through DHEA supplements under medical supervision. The dosage is to be determined by the healthcare provider. The benefits of DHEA supplementation includes improved immunological function, bone mineral density and sexual libido in women, reduced abdominal fat, diabetes prevention and cancer.


With specific reference to DHEA levels and heart health, data indicates that in men and women who die of heart disease, the DHEA levels are significantly less than others of the same age. The aim of DHEA level test is to measure the amount of hormone in the blood stream. When the levels are low, the endocrine function of the body is severely affected. Being the 'feel-good' hormone, a good level of DHEA contributes to a balanced mood.


Extensive research on DHEA levels suggests that healthy DHEA levels can prevent Alzheimer's disease, cancer, osteoporosis, depression, heart disease and obesity. Symptoms of low DHEA levels are extreme fatigue, decrease in muscle mass, decrease in bone density, depression, aching joints, loss of libido and lowered immunity. Doctors test DHEA levels as a diagnostic tool for varied reasons. The test results indicate specific disorders in men, women and children.


  • To check if the adrenal glands are working properly.

  • In women, the test is recommended if there is excessive hair growth or the appearance of male body characteristics.

  • In children who attain puberty at an abnormally early age, the DHEA level test is done to assess any gland disorder.

  • Prevalence of diseases and the process of aging can cause bone loss. By checking the DHEA levels, doctors can recommend measures to improve bone density.

  • Depression, anxiety and mood disorders are linked to hormonal imbalance. DHEA level test is a precursor to treating major depression.

  • Assessment of DHEA levels helps in taking measures to boost immune system.

  • Decreased libido is linked to lower DHEA levels.

  • Low levels of DHEA help predict HIV progression.

  • If afflicted with chronic fatigue syndrome, testing DHEA levels helps in taking necessary steps to improve the condition.

  • To assess if bone density is higher especially in women who have undergone menopause, DHEA level test is recommended.

  • Extensive research on DHEA indicates it as a predictive factor in diagnosing aging-related diseases.


Breast Calcification

Calcification is a common process where small spots of calcium spots deposit themselves in breast tissue. These deposits can be the result of aging or other breast conditions such as fibroadenoma or cysts. Inflammation or foreign bodies such as implants or stitches can also lead to calcification.


Injury or breast surgery can lead to microcalcification. Surgery such as silicone implants or removal of tissues are other probable causes. If you have undergone radiation treatment in the chest area, you are at higher risk for developing breast calcifications. Calcium deposits within the milk ducts or within the breast arteries are other causes for developing breast calcifications. Any breast infection such as mastitis or dermatitis is yet another cause for calcification within the breast. Breast calcifications are not caused due to dietary calcium.


The best diagnostic tool to detect breast calcification is a high quality mammography done by a radiologist who is skilled in the proper positioning and compression of the breast. Such mammograms are best viewed on high-luminance viewers where extraneous glare and light is eliminated. The morphology is an important determinant in detecting malignancy of breast calcifications. A biopsy can confirm the readings. When instances of calcification are detected, mammograms are routinely taken to determine the stability of the calcifications. Suspicious mammogram must be followed by core needle biopsy, as it is minimally traumatic and relatively less expensive than surgical biopsy.

Tags: #Aging #DHEA #Breast Calcification
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Bibliography / Reference

Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: July 29, 2021