Normal Changes In The Aging Process

The first step towards protecting your health is knowing what physical and mental changes tend to occur with age. The following are some of the most common bodily changes that can be expected. 

Bones

Medicine Plus reports that with age, bones become more brittle and thinner as they lose density or mass, which can result in osteoporosis at times.  Low bone mass increases the risk of broken bones, which includes the vertebrae (bones in your spine), and that can cause a loss of height and stooped posture. Osteoporosis and low bone mass more commonly occur in women. However, men can suffer from them as well. Make sure you consult with your doctor about what steps you can take to prevent osteoporosis. The first sign that you have osteoporosis is often a broken bone.   

Heart 

As you continue to age,  your large arteries grow stiffer. This condition is referred to as arteriosclerosis, which contributes to high blood pressure. The artery wall also has a tendency to accumulate a buildup of plaque, or fatty deposits, which may also narrow and harden the arteries, which reduces the blood flow into the heart. This fatty deposit buildup is referred to as atherosclerosis, and coronary artery disease is the buildup of plaque within the arteries that lead to the heart, which is one of the major risk factors for heart attacks. Although it is not possible to control all blood vessels and heart changes that are associated with the aging process. However, getting physical activity on a regular basis and adhering to a healthy diet, almost always can help to keep your heart and arteries healthier for a longer period of time.   

Brain 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as people grow older, it is common to experience a slight degree of forgetfulness, a slowing of the ability to multitask, or the capability to process new information. However, when memory problems and confusion go beyond just an occasional “senior moment,” it is normal and it is important to have a medical professional check it out. You might be in an early stage of dementia. However, you also might have a condition affecting your brain that is treatable. 

Digestive System 

As people continue to age, the digestive tract starts to slow down and also doesn’t contract as frequently as when they were younger. This can result in feelings of nausea, stomach pain, and constipation. Also, many medications can contribute to or cause constipation. To prevent these types of digestive problems, itis recommended by the Mayo Clinic to follow a  fiber-rich diet, drink lots of fluids, manage your stress, and stay as active as you can. 

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Senses 

Medline Plus notes that as people continue to age they might notice that the five senses – touch, smell, taste, vision, and hearing might not be as sharp as they were in the past. Changes within the ear’s structure might cause some hearing loss and your sense of balance could also be affected. You might need reading glass, and your sharpness of vision might dull. You may start losing your sense of taste, due to a reduction in the number of taste buds you have.  As a consequence, flavors might not b as vivid or distinct to you. Your sense of smell might weaken as you grow older due to the loss of nerve endings inside your nose and reduced mucus production. Your sensitivity to vibration, pressure, pain, and touch might be reduced as well – although thinning skin might also make some individuals more sensitive to touch. 

Gums and Teeth

Over the years, the tough enamel that helps to protect your teeth against decay may begin to wear away, which can leave you susceptible to getting cavities. According to the American Dental Association, with age, the nerves inside your teeth may become smaller, which can leave you less sensitive to pain, and can also potentially delay a diagnosis of cracks or cavities in the outer surface of a tooth. The American Journal of Public Health published an article in June 2017 that shows that more than fifty percent of people over the age of 65 have severe or moderate gum disease. This article also says that dry mouth can be caused by about 400 medications that are commonly used. Dry mouth can increase the risk of developing oral diseases. 

Skin 

As people age, their skin begins to lose its elasticity and might start to wrinkle and sag. However, the more that you protect your skin against smoking and sun damage when you are young, the better your skin is going to look as you grow older. It is recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology that moisturizer and sunscreen are the two most critical anti-aging products that should be used. Wearing a hat that has a brim can protect the skin on your face and scalp. Start to protect your skin today to reduce your risk of getting skin cancer and to prevent further damage.

Sexual Function 

Following menopause, as estrogen levels drop and menstruation stops, many women start experiencing physical changes, which includes reducing vaginal lubrication. Those changes might lower your sex drive as well. Advancing age in men often includes erectile dysfunction – although as is pointed out by the American Sexual Health Association, it is not a normal part of the aging process and might be a sign of an underlying medical condition or arise as a side effect from taking a certain medication. Fortunately, many of the physical problems can be treated or accommodated by an open-minded partner open to experimentation.

 

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