Aging and Age-Related Illnesses

The Role of Inflammation in Aging and Disease

Circulating inflammatory cytokines are the mediators responsible for causing oxidative stress and degradation of overall cell function and behavior. Commonly, the first cytokine released into circulation is tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), followed by traces of inflammatory interleukins. Oxidative stress negatively influences gene expression and protein makeup of a cell. This can greatly alter how the cell replicates and responds to specific stimuli. Increased levels of markers of inflammation and malnutrition predict a poor outcome in many patients with numerous medical conditions. Additionally, overt inflammatory response, or malnutrition are common causes of death. Chronic inflammation is linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Overall, increased inflammation can accelerate the aging process bringing about diseases much sooner. Perhaps the best evidence supporting the importance of inflammation in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases comes from the observation among patients of increased or decreased systemic inflammation are directly associated with an enhanced risk of atherosclerosis.

Signs of Inflammation in Cardiovascular Disease

Although the evidence is less clear, ESRD patients with coronary heart disease and enhanced cardiovascular risk and mortality frequently have similar elevated levels of acute-phase reactant.

  • Increased serum C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in ESRD patients are as strong a predictor of cardiovascular mortality as serum albumin concentration.
  • Increased serum levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) are associated with increased dialysis mortality, and progression of carotid atherosclerosis during dialysis may be related to increased IL-6 levels.

Oxidative Stress and Inflammation Increasing Morbidity and Mortaility

Increasing clinical evidence also suggests that inflammation and oxidation stress are associated with adverse outcomes among predialysis patients. This was perhaps best shown in a prospective study of 80 nondiabetic predialysis patients in which the effect of different conventional and nonconventional risk factors on cardiovascular events was examined. At follow-up at a median period of seven years, 21 patients developed adverse outcomes due to coronary, cerebral, or peripheral artery occlusion. Upon multivariate analysis, an adverse cardiovascular outcome was independently associated with increased age and elevated CRP, fibrinogen, and advanced oxidation protein product levels.

Treatments for Inflammation Serve Important Anti-aging Role

Antiaging medicine has shifted focus towards controlling inflammation without compromising the immune system’s ability to fight infections. This is referred to as immune modulation, suppressing one component of the immune system while enhancing another. Aging is more than a cosmetic concern; it is obviously a major contributor to disease onset and a rapid decline in overall quality of life. Delaying the aging process helps delay disease onset. Antiaging medicine represents a form of prophylactic care to manage delay aging with the simple goal of delaying disease onset and sustaining patient quality of life.

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