The number of aged individuals within the global population is increasing, which foreshadows
a major societal and global health challenge. By 2050 those over 65 years old will outnumber
children under 15 years of age. This situation will bring with it multifarious variations in health and
functional status, occurring with increasing age and which remain incompletely understood.
Ageing, however, is not solely a passive degenerative process but one that is actively regulated by distinct
molecular pathways. Understanding this molecular basis of ageing is an essential step for therapeutic
manipulation to combat age-related disease. Diseases such as SSc, RA and SLE may share
common age related pathways of early dysregulation with other diseases of ageing, such that the biomarkers and interventions
applied to prevent late stage disease will also tackle common fundamental pathways of ageing processes.
This chapter will seek to explore and discuss the possible influence of these factors and their impact on disease processes,
with specific reference to SSc in the context of it being a disease of ageing.
It will address the contribution of socioeconomic, psychosocial and nutritional confounders of health span through the life
course. In particular, it will seek to contextualize the development of inflammatory burden and allostatic overload and
their contribution to morbidity and mortality. Importantly, this chapter will provide a context for transgenerational and
other epigenetic effects, which are emerging as contributory components in disease susceptibility and progression.