As you age time creates change on the body’s organs and systems. Everyone is unique in the aging process. How you age is unique as well as when you age. There are some typical changes, however, common to everyone. In this article you will learn about some of those changes that take place during the aging process.
The cardiovascular system, your heart muscle, becomes less efficient and will work harder to pump the same amount of blood through your body.
Bones reach a maximum mass between ages of 25 and 35. The aging process causes bones to shrink in size and density. You might notice yourself becoming shorter. The bones can become more susceptible to fracture. Muscles, tendons and joints lose some strength and flexibility.
The digestive system experiences changes through the aging process. Swallowing may become slower. The motions that automatically move digested food through the intestines slows down. If you have ever watched an elderly person eat, you will sometimes notice it seems as though they are having great difficulty getting their food chewed and swallowed. This is a lot due to the aging process.
Other changes in the digestive system during the aging process are:
• Amount of surface area within your intestines diminishes slightly.
• Flow of secretions from the stomach, liver, pancreas and small intestine decreases
Since the above changes generally do not disrupt your digestive process you may never notice them other than you might notice more constipation as you age.
As time goes on the kidneys become less efficient in removing waste from the bloodstream. Any kind of chronic disease you have like diabetes or high blood pressure and even some medications can damage the kidneys further.
It is estimated that about 30 percent of people age 65 and older experience some loss of bladder control. Urinary incontinence can also be caused by obesity, frequent constipation and a chronic cough. Women are more likely than men to experience urinary incontinence.
An older man may experience urinary incontinence because of an enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate can block the urethra. If this occurs you may experience difficulty emptying the bladder and small amount of urine to leak.
Changes you can expect in the brain and nervous system during the aging process are:
• Memory becomes less efficient.
• In some areas of the brain the number of connections between cells increases, which helps maintain brain function.
• Reflexes become slower
• You may become less coordinated during the aging process.
During the aging process the eyes become less able to produce tears, the retinas thin and the lenses turn yellow and less clear. A person in their 40s may experience problems focusing on objects that are close up. You may experience difficulty adapting to different levels of light, and driving at night may become a problem. Three common problems of aging eyes are cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma.
One of the most common conditions affecting middle-aged and older adults is hearing loss. It is estimated that one in three people older than 60 and half of all people older than 85 have a significant hearing loss.
If you have cared for your teeth and gums over the years you should be able to maintain your natural teeth all your life. However, even with extremely meticulous brushing, flossing and dental exams the aging process may still cause your mouth to feel drier and your gums to pull back from your teeth. The teeth may also darken slightly and become more brittle during the aging process.
Your skin thins and becomes less elastic and more fragile during the aging process. You might even bruise more easily. The natural oils of the skin decrease significantly leaving your skin drier and more wrinkled. The hair usually turns gray and thins. As you age you will most likely perspire less, which makes it harder to stay cool in high temperatures. This puts you at risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. How fast your skin ages depend on many factors.
The more sun your skin has been exposed to the more damage you may attain. Smoking causes skin damage and wrinkles. Skin cancer is also a concern as you age.
Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight if you are overweight becomes more difficult as you age. This is partly due to a slower metabolism. A slow metabolism means your body burns fewer calories and will start to be stored away as fat. If the level of activity decreases you will experience unwanted weight gain.
During the aging process sexual needs, patterns and performance may change. For women, vaginal dryness may be a problem, which can make sexual intercourse painful. Impotence problems become more common for men as they age.
Today our life expectancy is around 77 years. The longest documented human life span is 122 years. With improvements in medicine, science and technology during the last century more and more people are expected to live longer, healthier lives.
It is never too late to stop unhealthy habits such as smoking or eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and getting health benefits from taking daily walks.
If you are living a healthy lifestyle now it can dramatically improve how and when the aging process will affect you.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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Connie Limon. Please visit our collection of Nutrition and Health articles at http://nutritionandhealthhub.com Articles are available for FREE reprint to your newsletter, website or blog. Please sign up for our weekly nutrition tips.