A lot of people think that aging is a product of a single process. But experts are now getting to know that aging is a product of more than one construct. The first construct is what we now know as primary aging, while the second construct is called secondary aging. Primary aging is all about innate processes. It is of genetic origin and typically involves inevitable biological and hormonal changes as a person grows into old age. The secondary construct of aging has to do with factors from the environment, as well as the impact of diseases and lifestyle choices. We must understand how these two constructs differ from one another. This is so that you can know the things you can control when it comes to aging. Aging is indeed not totally beyond your control if you understand the secondary construct.
With recent findings on aging, experts now agree that aging is not necessarily a rapid decline that ends up in debilitation and death. It is clear that lifestyle factors have huge impacts on how aging progresses. While you will not be able to avoid all the impacts of secondary aging, you can still find ways to mitigate some of the effects of these factors. This will limit the progression of aging, or at least slow it down. But then, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate these two constructs. There’s a sort of cyclical link between the two. For instance, the older you get, the more prone you are to illness. But then, illness contributes to secondary aging.
What is Primary Aging?
Primary aging can be called genetic aging. Intrinsic factors that change with age can lead to some sort of decay. Functional decay happens as a result of a drop in certain trophic factors. These factors include various hormones like the sex hormones and growth factor hormone.
As the trophic factors decline, it produces certain effects that represent the classic aging signs. Such signs include hair loss, wrinkles, hair discoloration, shrinking, weak bones, and muscle fiber loss. Cognitive decline and weaker immunity are also classic aging signs.
One interesting fact about primary aging is that it may increase some cognitive abilities. This is different from what many people think. As you grow older, you will be able to reflect, interpret, and understand information better.
But then, aging will affect your cognitive speed. Your thought processes may be better, but they will be slower as you grow older.
Many experts have an interest in primary aging, especially those in the fields of genetics, gerontology, and molecular biology. Most scholars who have done extensive research on primary aging agree that there is little to nothing you can do to slow its basic processes.
But then, all experts do not agree on how primary aging occurs and its mechanisms. This has given rise to several theories. These theories sometimes counter traditional beliefs, as well as one another.
One major area that these theories explore is the possibility of slowing primary aging. The traditional belief is that you can’t slow or prevent primary aging. They say the aging changes are inevitable.
But then, some of the recent theories even suggest ways to boycott the process. Antioxidants to deal with oxidative damage, as well as caloric restriction are some of the ways experts have suggested to help mitigate primary aging.
How is Secondary Aging Different?
The secondary construct of aging explains another reason for aging. This construct implicates poor lifestyle choices and diseases in aging. These include smoking, lack of regular exercise, excess consumption of fat, as well as other stressors.
Secondary aging slows down the body and can lead to early aging. This construct implicates factors that you can prevent. You can address these factors by making better lifestyle choices, as well as by taking certain modern medicines.
You can do a lot of positive things to mitigate secondary aging. But you cannot eliminate all of its effects. Some of these effects include less efficient circulatory function, as well as a sluggish heart. Unhealthy choices may lead to clogged blood vessels. This can gradually constrict the vessels and affect your circulation.
Secondary aging can also affect your lungs. The capacity of your lungs may reduce by as much as half by age 80. At that age, your digestive functions will also be at an all-time low.
The secondary construct of aging also implicates disease and bad lifestyle choices in the chronic diseases of old age. These age-related diseases include diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis, as well as other forms of physical ailments. These conditions can limit your life expectancy and cause poorer health outcomes.
If you can make healthier lifestyle choices, you will be able to prevent these chronic diseases. And when it comes to functional decline, healthy choices can help slow them down. We cannot totally eliminate the functional decline because we are exposed to toxic substances every day.
But then, you can at least be more intentional about being physically active. You can also ensure you eat healthy meals and avoid hazardous materials.
Is the difference between primary and secondary aging important at all? Yes, it is. This is because we cannot have any effective anti-aging intervention if we don’t understand how aging occurs. The only reason why experts are yet to agree on anti-aging strategies is that they are yet to fully agree on aging constructs.
Doctors, geneticists, psychologists, and molecular biologists, as well as other experts and researchers, are still working tirelessly to understand these constructs of primary and secondary aging better. They are also forging new anti-aging strategies as new findings emerge.
Anyways, aging seems to be individualized in some ways. All people don’t age the same. This is because lifestyle plays a major role. We are yet to fully understand how primary aging differs from secondary aging. Their cyclic link makes the difference quite fuzzy. But hopefully, advances in biotechnology and medicine will differentiate them more clearly and help us forge better ways to boycott aging and live a healthier life way into old age.