Aging: Basic Things You Can Expect
In the grand scheme of things our time in this world is short. Some people do not see much life while others may live into their 80s, 90s or even over 100. Even those who reach triple digits would likely say life is short. The saying goes that only 2 things are certain: “Death and taxes.” Arguably, you could add a third and that would be aging.
Getting older can take us off guard, things start to change and if we do not adjust with them, we could have problems in our near future. It is therefore important to understand the signs of aging and what we should expect.
External Signs of Aging
As we age, we physically start to notice changes to our appearance which can include graying of hair or development of wrinkles. According to Harvard Medical School as we get older our hair follicles begin to produce less color. As a result, hair starts to grow white rather than the natural color we have had our whole lives. There is no certain timeframe in which this starts to happen, it is different for everyone. (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/hair-turn-gray-2017091812226).
According to the Mayo Clinic skin wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process. As we age our skin loses its elasticity and produces lower levels of natural oils. This dries the skin and may cause the appearance of wrinkles. Additionally, as we age fat layers near the skin diminish and can lead to loose skin.
Internal Changes as We Age
According to the Mayo Clinic as we age there are a number of internal changes that occur in our bodies which may impact our health. Blood vessels, for example, stiffen as we get older increasing the risk for cardiovascular problems. Other organs that are affected can be the intestines and bladder which undergo changes that diminish their optimum functioning. (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/aging/art-20046070).
Our eyesight may deteriorate as can our hearing. As we get older our frequency range for hearing decreases meaning we can no longer hear high pitched sounds. The eyes become less adaptable as we age meaning they may struggle to focus in changing light conditions and may be sensitive to glare.
Physical Changes as We Age
As we get older the vigor, we enjoyed in our youth starts to diminish. Our bones actually shrink as we get older and become weaker. Therefore, older people may be more prone to broken bones from falls that decades earlier would seem insignificant. Our muscles also lose their elasticity and strength as we get older meaning that our physical strength diminishes.
With our bones being more delicate and our muscles losing strength this can mean we are not as steady and stable as we once were. Older individuals often suffer from problems with coordination and find themselves more prone to injury.
As we age cellular replacement slows down which means that the production of new healthy cells is not as rapid as when we were younger. This can have an effect in the brain causing memory issues or slowed cognitive abilities. The effects of cardiovascular disease can also impact the oxygen levels reaching the brain which can worsen cognitive weaknesses. Our brains require oxygen to work efficiently and if they do not get enough, they can be sluggish and less sharp.
There are a lot of changes that go along with aging, some are noticeable others can be more subtle. The thing we must understand, though, is that there are ways to combat and slow many of these changes if we choose to do so.