If there’s one thing that most people want to delay, it’s the aging process. However, as everyone tries to age gracefully, several habits do the total opposite.
Premature aging involves notable changes in the body which are not supposed to happen yet. While it is already impossible to stop these changes, the condition indeed suggests underlying problems or unhealthy habits that damage the DNA.
Nevertheless, you can avoid premature aging by understanding how it happens and what factors cause its acceleration.
For starters, there are known activities that trigger intrinsic aging. But since these activities are pretty common, most people assume that they are entirely harmless when in hindsight, they speed up the aging process.
On the other hand, there are also feasible ways to protect yourself from premature aging. Find out which ones are already within your reach.
Signs of Premature Aging
The effects of aging are pretty expected. But they’re supposed to manifest towards the end of the road. Simply put, if you experience signs of aging during childhood, adolescents, or early adulthood, then you may want to consult your doctor about the possibility of premature aging.
Observe if you have the following signs of aging and set an appointment with your doctor for the proper blood tests.
- Skin wrinkling
- Age spots
- Veiny hands
- Dull Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Memory problems
- Sensitivity to Bruising
What Are the Causes of Premature Aging?
Aging is an inevitable process. Therefore, even with the baseless claims that this natural phenomenon can be prevented, your body is bound to deteriorate, starting with its internal components. However, what is not normal is looking like you’re already in your 50s when you’re still in your 20s.
Looking old and feeling old when you’re nowhere near senescence is your body’s cry for help. Here’s what may have been causing your premature aging.
It’s no secret that harmful and unhealthy habits can cause critical damage to your body. It decreases your life expectancy, but it also deteriorates your cells leading to premature aging.
One example is substance abuse. Amphetamines like meth and ecstasy significantly speed up cardiovascular and biological aging, which is physically evident among its abusers.
Smoking and drinking alcohol can also cause an increase in oxidative stress that damages your skin cells and vital organs.
Furthermore, the lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet can make your body more prone to age-related diseases. This kind of lifestyle also deprives your skin of the nutrients it needs to maintain good health.
Foods that are high in sugars and fats cause an increased risk for inflammatory damage in the body.
It is common knowledge that stress can give you unwanted lines on your face.
According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, psychological stress can induce chronic immune dysfunction, oxidative stress release, and DNA damage that can lead to skin and tissue aging.
Stress activates emergency pathways and neurological responses that are not meant to occur for an extended period.
In addition, these conditions disrupt several bodily functions. They also disturb the production of essential hormones and body chemicals, causing an imbalance in the body.
Frequent Sun Exposure
The most common cause of premature aging is frequent and prolonged sun exposure. The UV (ultraviolet) radiation coming from the sun causes changes in the DNA, damaging the skin cells entirely.
Those who are not cautious with sun exposure often find themselves wrinkling, scalping, and with dry skin. Clinically, this condition is referred to as photoaging.
Likewise, those who are fond of tanning beds experience the same detrimental results.
Additionally, aside from premature aging, there is also the risk of skin cancer which is considered the most prevalent form of cancer among Americans.
There is a rare genetic disease that affects children, directly triggering accelerated aging at such a young age. This disorder is known as progeria or Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome. The condition is very prominent as symptoms appear to suggest the disease directly.
Children with progeria have narrowed faces, below average size, wrinkled skin, hair loss, and bulging eyes.
Progeria can also emerge among adolescents and young adults. Adult progeria, also called Werner syndrome, has higher risks for cancer aside from premature aging.
How To Prevent Premature Aging
Premature aging can be a horrific condition not just because you are rapidly losing your youth but also because it accelerates your health deterioration. Therefore, it is imperative to protect your body and prevent aging prematurely as early as you can.
Take the following actions to keep your youthful glow and conform to your biological age.
1. Wear sunscreen when going outside
As you already know by now, too much sun exposure can cause premature skin aging. Hence, it is only appropriate to protect yourself every time you step outside your home.
The best you can do is wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) that protects your skin from the harmful ultraviolet B rays.
2. Include foods rich in antioxidants in your regular diet
Oxidative stress, a condition caused by unequal production and build-up of reactive oxygen species (ROS), is directly associated with premature aging.
For example, the accumulation of free radicals due to exposure to industrial chemicals, pollutants, cigarette smoke, etc., causes a critical imbalance that triggers oxidative stress.
To correct this imbalance, you should eat foods that contain high antioxidants. These nutrients can lessen the harmful effects of free radicals.
Here are some of the natural foods with antioxidants that you can include in your diet:
- Dark chocolate
- Dark leafy greens
- Plums Beans (pinto, red, black)
- Berries (blueberries, raspberries, Goji berries)
3. Get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation prevents your cells from undergoing repair and regeneration.
Once the cellular damage is not addressed, the effects become irreversible. Hence, insufficient sleep accelerates the aging process.
A study from UCLA found evidence that lack of sleep, even just for one night, makes the cell age fast. So, secure 7 to 8 hours of sleep to keep you looking and feeling young.
4. Give up smoking, heavy drinking, and other unhealthy habits
Cigarette smoking, substance abuse, and constant exposure will only increase the free radicals in your system. This, in turn, leads to oxidative stress that destroys your cells and accelerates aging. Still, you can stop this process by giving up these unhealthy habits for good.
5. Engage in activities that relieve stress
Letting go of stress protects you from aging prematurely. Find an activity that increases your happy neurotransmitter.
You can engage in sports, social activities, hobbies, socialization, and more. Likewise, you can learn breathing techniques that relieve stress. There are a myriad of options that appeal to your preference.
6. Exercise regularly
You can age slower with regular exercise. It slows the aging process by keeping the end parts of your chromosome free from critical damage. In this way, your DNA remains healthy, and aging occurs at the right timeline.
7. Adopt a healthy skincare routine
It is essential to protect your skin from irritants such as dirt and air pollutants as they cause dryness and affect skin collagen. If you have sensitive skin, ask your doctor for the appropriate skincare products, such as the best moisturizer for your skin type.
8. Undergo an aging profile test
Not many people are aware of aging profile tests. This type of laboratory testing allows you to understand your risks for accelerated aging. It also assesses your likelihood of developing age-related diseases.
By getting an aging profile test, you get one step ahead of the natural aging process. It doesn’t only prevent premature aging, it can also warrant longevity if paired with healthy habits. In addition, you can secure aging profile tests specific for women or men.
From what we know today, it is clear that no one can stop aging. But to experience this natural process at an earlier phase can cause nothing but distress.
Unfortunately, being exposed to environmental elements that influence aging means that the risk for premature aging is higher than expected.
Nonetheless, with the proper preventive measures, you can continue to enjoy being young.
Always be on guard against free radicals and be cautious with how your regular activities affect your aging. After all, keeping your body young all depends on how you take good care of it.