Literarily, the question about how long we can live is as old as humans themselves. Today, however, it no longer about lengthening lifespan. Rather, the question should be about increasing “health span.”
Of course, old age remains the most common risk issues for serious diseases such as heart diseases, cancer, stroke, neurological conditions, and diabetes. As we advance in age, these health challenges start to manifest and their effects also begin to tell on our physical capability. The older you get, the more likely you are to have multiple chronic illnesses.
By targeting aging itself, scientists hope they will one day be able to treat all of the multiple chronic illnesses cutting lives short. We hope this becomes a reality someday.
The truth, however, is human beings are not built to live forever. On record, the person who lived longest was Jeanne Calment, a Frenchwoman, who died in 1997 at the age of 122. Meanwhile, there have been some disputes concerning how long humans might be able to live all things being equal.
A 2016 survey pegs the upper limit at 115 years. However, recent research conducted last June, in which death rates among elderly Italians were reviewed, suggested that there may be no limit at all to the number of years humans can live.
In some of the studies conducted with animals over the last few decades, researchers have started to comprehend the specific cellular and molecular processes that promote the deteriorations in human development that often manifested in old age.
Over the last few years, scientists have discovered that old cells produce certain proteins, lipids, and other substances that lead to inflammation and tissue destruction. A study conducted with mice shows that if these cells are transplanted to the knee joints of healthy animals, it creates a disease that resembles a condition like human osteoarthritis.
Healthy adolescents and young adults only have few of these aging cells, but as they approach age 60, they get to accumulate the old cells. The more the accumulation of these old cells, the more the disabilities that come with old age.
So, what remedy can we use to remove these old cells and retain the young ones? Scientists are already testing a few drugs to see if they can help improve human conditions.
The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life by increasing “health span, not lifespan.” All humans will die. No seasoned researcher believes in immortality. All we want is to upgrade the quality of life in old age than ever before.