When people think of getting older, they often focus on what career they want, how they will get there, falling in love, starting a family, and living a successful life.
In addition, many people find themselves dwelling on what may begin to happen to their body as time goes on and the aging process leaves its mark. Although these thoughts can ignite feelings of anxiety in some people, it is important to be educated on how the body evolves. The chances of being diagnosed with certain health problems increase as our body and mind age. You may also want to look into your medical history, to see if any diseases run in the family.
While it is not as glorious as pondering on the many favorable things that come with aging, the effects of aging on the human body are real and everyone should have an understanding of them.
Your blood pressure is monitored and managed by specific receptors that are responsible for maintaining stable blood pressure when you change positions or do other activities. When you age, you will notice that your blood pressure does not remain as constant as it once did. Stressful situations can cause it to shoot up quickly while getting up from a sitting or lying position can cause it to drop problematically low.
This happens because the receptors in your blood vessels and lymphatic vessels become less sensitive with age. Blood pressure changes also occur because the large blood vessel connective tissue walls become thicker and stiffer resulting in the heart working harder.
While these changes are very common and should be expected, blood pressure fluctuations can become a serious emergent medical issue. You should monitor your blood pressure occasionally when you feel very stressed or if you get lightheaded or dizzy when changing positions. If it becomes an issue your physician can prescribe medication and diet changes to help with blood pressure management. Maintaining a regular exercise routine with moderate physical activity can help keep the cardiovascular system healthy.
Bones, Joints, And Muscles
Your skeleton gives your body support and structure. The joints allow for flexible movement of the skeleton because the bones are cushioned by cartilage, synovial fluid, and synovial membranes. The muscles that provide the power or the strength and force to move the bones and joints. As you age your bones will lose calcium and other minerals resulting in a reduced bone mass. Cartilage between the bones in the joints wears down with age and pain and stiffness in the joints becomes normal for those over sixty years of age.
There is also a marked loss of muscle mass and tissue due to deposits of fat and lipofuscin in the muscle tissues. This causes muscle fibers to shrink and when muscles are injured they heal back with tough fibrous tissue. Along with joint pain and stiffness comes the rigidity of muscles when you age.
Ensuring that you are meeting your daily nutritional requirements for imperative minerals and vitamins such as calcium and vitamin D can help reduce the risk factors of developing a bone disease like osteoporosis. In order to prevent muscle weakness, you should engage in regular exercise activities. Should the joint pain and stiffness become problematic, your physician can help you with medications, physical therapy, and even surgical procedures to help with even the most severe cases of cartilage deterioration.
The muscles, brain, and digestive system all work together to keep food moving at an adequate speed through the digestive tract. Because the digestive tract is made of muscular tissues, age causes the rate of digestion to slow down and not work as well as it used to. The digestive tract muscles lose muscle mass and become less efficient, stiffer, and weaker as you age. This causes the most common age-related complaint regarding the digestive system, known as constipation.
While saying that you should expect to experience constipation frequently as you age sounds sort of awful, there are many things you can do to prevent it. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your tissues hydrated. Limit the amount of fat intake in your diet and increase the amount of fiber you consume. Should constipation become problematic, your physician has many tools in their toolbox to help reduce the frequency of which you experience it.
Urinary Tract And Bladder
The urinary tract contains the bladder, urethra, ureters, and kidneys. Your urinary system is responsible for controlling your body’s chemical and fluid balance as well as filter the blood of wastes and toxins. As you age the bladder wall will lose elasticity and will be unable to hold the same quantities of urine it once could.
The bladder muscle itself weakens, and a combination of these things will cause problems with bladder control like urinary incontinence or leakage and urinary retention. Problems with reproductive organs can have an influence on how the urinary system functions like vaginal dryness or an enlarged prostate.
The best thing you can do to help the aging process with the urinary system is to keep your blood pressure at an acceptable level and drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated will also help your blood vessels and lymphatic vessels transport these waste products to the kidneys efficiency. If urinary retention or incontinence becomes a problem or if you experience recurrent urinary tract infections, your physician can prescribe medications and work with you to help manage age-related urinary changes.
Memory And Thinking
The brain and nervous system are like the electrical system of your body. Memory and thinking are functions that depend on a synergy of multiple processes that happen quickly in the brain. When the brain ages, some of the parts of the brain can shrink. The protective myelin sheath that insulates the nerve fibers wears down and nerve transmissions will start to short out or get interrupted. They also start to move slower when they do go through correctly. This influences your capability of retrieving information that is already in your memory and your ability to store new information into your memory.
While this type of occurrence is normal for the brain, there are ways to combat it and reduce your risk factors for developing dementia and/or Alzheimer’s. Exercising regularly and eating a diet that is low in caldoctoories but rich in essential vitamins and minerals can help keep your central nervous system and brain in good health. You should have annual checkups with your physician so that they can ensure any changes in thinking and memory are normal and start treatment early for cases where they may not be.
Ears And Eyes
The lens of the eye is what you depend on to change thickness in order to focus on nearby objects. With normal aging, the eye lens becomes stiffer and unable to thicken for you to focus on nearby objects the same way you once could. In addition, many older adults develop age related macular degeneration or progressive damage to the most vital and central region of the retina.
This results in loss of central vision as you progress in age. Your ears will become larger and earwax will tend to build up easier in your ear. Cartilage increases around the external ear canal, and the eardrum can begin to stiffen. These changes result in central auditory processing disorders and general age-related hearing loss.
The best way to combat issues with your eyes is to use bifocals and reading glasses and not strain to try and read or see something. There are also dietary supplements and medications that can help manage age related macular degeneration. Ear nose and throat specialists can help with problems related to hearing loss. Sometimes a change in diet helps and sometimes a hearing aid may be needed. The best thing you can do is to keep your ears clean and prevent any infections in your ears.
Skin And Teeth
Tooth enamel is the protective hard outer shell of the tooth that protects it from decay and damage. As you age your tooth enamel will deteriorate and your teeth will be more susceptible to incurring damage and decay. This can also be a result of an increase in saliva production that happens with aging.
Your skin is the largest organ of your body that is responsible for protecting everything within it from bacteria, germs, and other foreign bodies. As we age our skin loses the ability to produce the same amount of collagen and proteins as it once could, and dying or damaged skin cells are not as rapidly replaced with new ones like they used to be. This causes wrinkling, thinning, and stretching of the skin.
While there is no way to stop the erosion of enamel, there are ways to slow it down with a healthy diet and proper oral hygiene. Making regular visits to your dentist as well as following all recommendations and treatments they suggest can help preserve the health of your gums and your teeth. Keeping yourself hydrated and eating a healthy diet can also help with the aging of your skin.
Use medicated lotions to keep the skin moisturized and avoid anything you know to be irritating to your skin. Ceasing the consumption of tobacco and alcohol can help slow down the aging of your skin as well. Additionally, protecting your skin from the sun as much as possible will have a huge influence on the rate of which your skin ages.
Sexuality And Physical Activity
Aging in both men and women tends to have an effect on their capability of having and enjoying sexual activity. There are mental causes for this as well as physical causes. Men begin to experience impotence or the loss of the ability to maintain an erection as they progress in age.
Women start to notice changes like more pronounced vaginal dryness and the narrowing of her vagina. These factors in both men and women have affects the ability to experience sexual pleasure. The endurance when it comes to physical activity such as sex and other things begins to decline, and the motivation to engage may not be there as much as it was before.
While this sounds like a bleak thing to think about, there are measures you can take to help combat problems that affect your sex life. Medications can help with vaginal dryness and impotence while staying aware of your partners wants and needs can help with keeping an active sex life as you age. Do your best to understand the changes that each of you are experiencing and be patient. Engaging in regular exercise and cardio can help you maintain the decreasing level of endurance you have to engage in sexual activity.