Presbycusis refers to age-related hearing loss. This condition is noticed in about 30% adults over the age of 70 years. Aging results in changes in the inner ear or middle ear of a person. This can lead to gradual loss of hearing. Often the person is not even aware of the diminished hearing. Sometimes heart disease, circulatory problems, diabetes or hypertension can cause changes in the blood supply to the ear. This may lead to mild or moderate loss of hearing. Hereditary factors and side-effects of medications can also bring about presbycusis.
A patient suffering from Presbycusis will find it difficult to comprehend conversations clearly. Hearing loss is greater for high-pitched sounds. A person suffering from presbycusis may find it more difficult to hear a woman's voice. Some sounds may appear too loud and deafening. There may be tinnitus in one or both ears. A patient may be advised to use a hearing aid. The use of ear muffs or ear plugs can help in reducing further hearing loss.
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.
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 :
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.
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: February 23, 2024