Aging: What To Expect as You Grow Older

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Aging: What To Expect as You Grow Older

iStock_000016425837XSmallWe often think of aging in terms of wrinkles, gray hair, and wisdom. But there are actually many more changes that happen as we age, and quite a few of them happen inside our bodies. We don’t see these changes as they occur, but we certainly notice the results. Aging impacts all areas of your body, including:

Cardiovascular system. Your arteries and vessels become stiffer, causing your heart to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. This can lead to cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure (hypertension). Your heart rate also slows slightly as you get older, and your heart may get a little bigger.

Digestive system. Constipation often becomes a problem, due to lack of exercise, certain medications, a low-fiber diet, and lack of proper hydration.

Bladder. Loss of bladder control is common in the older population, often linked to diabetes, menopause (in women), or enlarged prostate (in men).

Sexuality. For a variety of reasons, your sex drive or ability to enjoy sex may decrease significantly.

Bones, joints, and muscles. Bones will shrink in size and lose some of their density, making you more prone to fractures. You may even notice that you have lost an inch or two in height. Muscles become weaker and less flexible, and balance and coordination may not be as great as they once were.

Memory. Memory becomes inefficient, and learning new information can be more difficult.

Oral health. Due to certain medications, your gums may become more vulnerable to infection. As you age, your gums may pull back from your teeth, and you may be more prone to tooth decay.

Eyes and ears. Aging can lead to cataracts or other visions problems, and even those without degenerative eye disease may notice difficulty adjusting to different levels of light. As for hearing, you might notice that you have trouble following a conversation in a crowded room, or that you’re always asking others to speak more loudly.

Weight. Muscle tissue decreases, fat tissue increases, and your metabolism slows.

Skin. Your skin becomes looser, drier, and is prone to age spots, bruising, and wrinkles.

Fortunately, there are ways to slow the progression of aging. A healthy diet and plenty of exercise go a long way toward combating many of these symptoms. For extra help, consulting with a physician who specializes in anti-aging regimens can keep you looking and feeling younger, healthier, and more energetic as you age.