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How Do We Age?

How Do We Age?

In animals the onset of aging is tied to physical evolution. Each animal has evolved to a given life span that accords best with its survival. Nature does not allow gross imbalances to persist; all the species fit in to their own niche of life span and follow their own specific aging patterns.

The factors that influence the life spans of different animals are so complex and subtle that explaining how animals age is difficult more than three hundred theories currently vie for an answer.

Aging clocks are disturbing to the imagination because they are time bombs that animals unwittingly carry around inside them, the instruments of their own destruction. Our moment of death is not determined at birth; humans defy fate by building shelters against the elements, planting crops against starvation, inventing cures for disease.

Yet the biochemical inheritance that we carry within us poses a constant threat. Like Pacific salmon, our bodies have the ability to release large doses of hormones outside our voluntary control. For example, a small, nonlethal dose of cortisol is released every time we are in a threatening situation.

Also beyond our conscious control is the effect of glucocorticoids in a host of other destructive processes: muscle wasting, diabetes, fatigue, osteoporosis, thinning of skin, redistribution of body fat, fragility of blood vessels, hypertension, fluid retention, suppression of immune function, and impaired mental function.

The above are signs of steroid poisoning, which looms as a danger if patients are kept too long on large doses of steroid medications. In situations where a person cannot terminate the stress response or act it out, his own body administers a tiny dose of steroid poisoning. The danger of repeated inappropriate stress is much greater, then, than any single catastrophic stress.

Adapted from Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1998).

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Deepak Chopra

Acknowledged as one of the world's greatest leaders in the field of mind body medicine, Deepak Chopra, M.D. continues to transform our understanding of the meaning of health. Chopra is known as a prolific author of over 49 books with 12 best sellers on mind-body health, quantum mechanics, spirituality, and peace. A global force in the field of human empowerment, Dr. Chopra's books have been published in more than 35 languages with more than 20 million copies in print.

75 comments

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7:18PM PST on Dec 26, 2012

So basically stress poisons us slowly :(

3:40PM PST on Dec 12, 2012

Maybe because I am young and atheist, but I don't stress over death since it can happen at any moment.

7:43AM PST on Dec 6, 2012

Thanks!

7:29AM PST on Dec 5, 2012

I'm aging getting my name off the list from getting all these comments in my messages.

7:29PM PST on Dec 4, 2012

good reminders

6:50PM PST on Dec 4, 2012

thanks

8:51AM PST on Dec 4, 2012

very interesting!

2:16AM PST on Dec 4, 2012

Interesting article.

2:15AM PST on Dec 4, 2012

Interesting - thanks!

2:06AM PST on Dec 4, 2012

I came across a beautiful comment by Arthur G. here, thank you!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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