Aging and the Effects of Hormonal Changes

Aging is a natural process, and involves gradual changes to the endocrine system. Hormones are natural chemicals produced at one location and released into the bloodstream where they control other organs and systems. With age comes decreased hormone effectiveness that results in more noticeable symptoms associated with aging as well as overall physical decline.

There are various theories to explain why hormonal levels change as we age, such as the pacemaker theory (in which cell physiology is controlled by internal clocks), catastrophic error theory (which states that errors accumulate until there is loss of homeostasis in cells), and wear-and-tear theory.

Hormone replacement therapy has been utilized as an approach to combating and/or preventing the hormonal changes associated with aging; however, its side effects may outweigh its health benefits. Instead, aerobic and resistance exercise programs along with healthy caloric diet can positively influence both endocrine and metabolic functions during aging, helping protect against age-related diseases.

Altering your outlook about aging can also help keep you healthier and more physically resilient as you age. According to research in The Journal of the American Medical Association, those who view aging as an opportunity rather than something to fear have over 40 percent higher chance of recovering from disability than those who see it as synonymous with helplessness or uselessness.