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How true is WhatsApp claim human beings age from the feet?

Image of the feet. Photo credit: wikimedia 4 mins read

Claim: A viral WhatsApp post claims that ageing starts from the feet upward.

There is no scientific evidence that ageing starts from the feet upward as ageing affects different body parts to different degrees.

Full Text

Recently, A viral message on WhatsApp claimed that ageing starts from the feet upwards.

The post further stated that “As a   person gets older, the accuracy & speed of transmission of instructions   between the brain and   the legs decreases, unlike when a person is young. *Please walk*”

It added that The   so-called   Bone Fertilizer Calcium will  sooner  or later  be  lost  with  the passage  of  time,  making  the   elderly  more  prone  to   bone fractures.”

Screenshot of the WhatsApp post

Further search also revealed that the post is viral on Facebook with various posts by Seth Smith and Reach-Together Mudras and Colour Therapy, which has garnered many likes and shares.

The Process of Ageing

 Ageing especially in humans represents the accumulation of changes over time and this can manifest through physical, psychological, and social changes.

According to the World Health Organization WHO, at the biological level, ageing results from the effect of the buildup of a wide variety of molecular and cellular damage over time. This then leads to a gradual decline in physical and mental capacity, a growing risk of disease, and eventually death.

These changes are neither linear nor consistent, and they are only loosely associated with a person’s age in years. The diversity seen in the older population is not random. Beyond biological changes, ageing is often associated with other life transitions such as retirement, relocation to more appropriate housing, and the death of friends and partners.

No single process can explain all the effects of ageing. This is because ageing is a complex process that varies in how it affects different people. Physiologists have found out that as one grows older, changes occur in the following parts of the body:

–         Hormone Production

–         Immunity

–         The Skin

–         Sleep

–         Bones, muscles, and joint

–         The Breast

–         The Face

–         The Female and Male Reproductive system

–         The Heart and blood vessels.

–         The Kidneys

–         The Lungs

–         The Nervous system.

Image of the biological hallmarks of ageing. Photo credit: Samantha Lee/Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

According to psychologists, people really do vary in how they age and this starts in young adulthood. So, does ageing really start from the feet upwards?

Aging and the feet

The human foot is a highly developed complex structure that serves to bear the weight of the body. It contains a lot of moving parts which encompasses 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 ligaments.

Such intricacy is essential because the foot is required to do many different activities such as running, walking, and climbing.

Image of the bones of a feet. Photo Credit: Orthopaedia.com

According to a study published in the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Journal, age-related changes in the feet include modifications in the skin, which becomes dry, inelastic, and cool, often exhibiting hyperkeratosis. This is just as the contour of the foot broadens with age and may have bigger forefoot elevation in the presence of toe deformities.

Sensory acuity also diminishes, as does joint flexibility, muscle-force production, and the ability to withstand stress.

But does ageing start from the feet?

Verification

A Geriatric doctor, Dr. Ezekiel Medunoye, said there’s no scientific evidence that proves ageing starts from the feet upwards.

According to him, ‘generally, the cells of the body lose a little of their vitality as one ages. So, there’s no part of the body that gets old first, as the cells work together. I think the cells of the body generally start to experience some problems in their ability to handle vital functions of the body.’

A family physician, Ademola Ayodele, said different body parts age differently but the feet are definitely not the first to age for now until proven otherwise scientifically.

He added, “when the bone stops growing, that’s evidence that the person has reached a landmark in age. And if that’s what they mean; when they say aging starts from the feet up as regards when the bone stops, then I can accept that. However, every part of the body works together, just as different body parts work independently but for a common goal.”

“We cannot definitely pinpoint where aging starts from as it is an all-encompassing process, and as such different body parts age differently but the feet are definitely for now not the first to age until proven otherwise.” he said.

A recent study reveals that humans age at different rates as well as potentially through different biological mechanisms. Though the whole body ages in some individuals, some systems age faster or slower than others. And as such, there is quite a bit of difference in how individuals age on a molecular level.

Another study shows that as one ages, the feet need a lot of help to age gracefully as many changes take place. The foot’s ligaments, fascia, and skin start to atrophy but the study did not specify that aging starts from the feet. It, however, recommends that as one ages, strengthening area muscles can often enhance the functioning of the feet and this contributes to one’s overall balance, stability, and flexibility.

Conclusion

There is no scientific evidence that ageing starts from the feet upwards as ageing affects different body parts to different degrees. However, taking good care of the feet is well advised.

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