Without the diseases of premature ageing, normal human life expectancy is estimated to be 120 years. Most people are capable of living their lives without pain and suffering caused by such chronic degenerative diseases.
Although the disease process and the ageing process may run concurrently, they are not the same thing. You can get sick and even die from many diseases common to old age, but you don’t have to get old to have such diseases. And if you maintain an optimal level of wellness, you should be able to get older without automatically and inescapably being condemned to the pain, discomfort and disabilities associated with many disease states. Growing old and getting sick simply are not interchangeable or even inextricably linked processes.
Premature ageing of the brain, circulation, heart, joints, skin, digestive tract, and immune system can begin at any time of life. Various factors cause the body to deteriorate, including injuries that do not heal completely, allergies, toxic chemicals, and heavy metals, poor nutrition, excessive radiation sunlight, overwhelming stress, and inactivity.
Sometimes premature ageing occurs without any symptoms until, suddenly, there is a catastrophic event such as a heart attack, cancer, or a stroke. Other times, atrophy or tissue wasting can occur, as in muscle weakness with lack of exercise, mucous and glandular deterioration with decreased hormone levels and brain atrophy in Alzheimer’s disease.
Frequently, however, a body that is ageing prematurely sends a message to its owner that it is malfunctioning. The most common message is pain. The cause of the pain might include such factors as inflammation, joint instability, insufficient blood supply, or pressure within an organ or on surrounding tissues.
The earliest and most obvious signs include men losing their hair and men and women needing reading glasses because of presbyopia (inability to focus on near objects).