• Question: Why do we change as we get older?

    Asked by 567aged23 to Carolyn, Peter, Richard, Sara on 20 Nov 2015. This question was also asked by Katiepoo.
    • Photo: Richard Unwin

      Richard Unwin answered on 20 Nov 2015:

      H Guys,

      We are constantly changing throughout our life. We change a LOT from birth to our late-teens, as we grow and develop into adults. From when we reach our mid-20s, say, start to ‘age’. Although, like growing, ageing a preprogrammed by our genes (cells can only ivied and make new cells a certain number of times, for example), a major driver of ageing is damage to our DNA and our cells from both our environment (what we eat, breathe, drink), but also from just being alive – some of the chemical reactions in our cells generate side products which can do damage to our cells. Although we have amazing ways of dealing with that damage, it builds up over times and parts of our body start to work less well (think about how a car performs from when it was new to when it’s 10 years old, say) and these contribute to what we think of as changes associated with ageing – wrinkles, aches and pains, memory loss, etc. These signs don’t start becoming a problem until you hit your 60s or 70s, usually, but they are constantly built up over the previous 40 years!