The Aging Process - What Changes in Your Body
TThe aging process is something inevitable for everyone. Every living thing ages and it happens for as long as you are alive. Aging is a process of being older over time. It refers to humans, animals, and even fungi. Although there are simple bacteria, animals, and plants who are biologically immortal. Humans age as the years go by and this happens whether you like it or not.
The Aging Process - What Changes in Your Body/ What Aging Does to the Body
The aging process is what every human can understand. But aging is something that most people know very little about. It's easy to list down all the changes that happen when you age. That includes wrinkles, memory loss, and even lean muscle loss. Although everyone understands why aging even occurs, nobody knows if we can slow or stop the aging process. That's why it's best to understand it to prepare yourself for aging.
How Do We Define Aging?
Aging is a gradual, natural, and continuous process that starts during early adulthood. As you reach middle age, different bodily functions start to decline. Although people have different experiences with the aging process. Below are the three ways people define aging.
- Chronologic Age
Chronologic age refers to the passage of time. Traditionally, 65 years old is defined as the start of old age. Health can decline during this age although it varies on different people. Some can still be active even in their 70s or even 80s.
- Biological Age
The biological age is when a person starts to feel the changes in their body. At 65 years old, a person can feel their health declining. Although it depends on their lifestyle and habits. The actual age is not the cause of these changes.
- Psychological Age
Psychological age varies in every person. Some may feel and think younger than their actual age. This is when a person thinks their age is just a number. Older individuals still feel active and still participate in different activities. Psychologically young people may look old but they feel younger than their age.
Types of Aging
1. Cellular Aging
Cellular aging is the progressive decline in your body's resistance to cellular damages. It can cause a gradual loss of your cellular functions. When your cells don't have enough stress resistance, it will result in cell damage and eventually cell death. Your body can no longer repair your cells due to cellular aging.
2. Hormonal Aging
Your organs produce hormones and these are being controlled by other hormones. But as you age, this process will change. The production of hormones may slow down compared to when you were younger. It will cause some health issues since the body needs enough at the right time to function well.
3. Accumulative Damage
Wear and tear damage happens over time. As you age, the endurance limit of your body can be reached. That will cause permanent damage and it can no longer be repaired. The cumulative damage is the total damage caused by the individual stress cycles. When you're older, your body may not be able to keep up with it.
4. Metabolic Aging
Metabolic age can affect your health since it's how fast you can burn calories at rest. Younger individuals burn calories faster compared to older people. It can provide the energy you need to do what you have to do during the day. But as you age, it becomes slower so you may feel the loss of energy faster.
How Does Aging Affect Your Body?
The cardiovascular system changes as you age. It can stiffen the blood vessels and your arteries. It will cause your heart to work harder to pump blood compared to when you were younger. Your heart muscles will automatically adjust to these changes. Although it will work hard even if you're at rest. It can increase the risk of hypertension and other heart problems over time.
2. Bones, Muscles & Joints
As you age, your bones will shrink in size and density. That causes them to be weaker and more prone to fracture. You may even appear shorter than your original height before. The muscles can also lose their strength, endurance, and flexibility. These can affect your balance, coordination, and stability.
3. Digestive System
Older adults can suffer from age-related structural changes from the large intestine. It can result in constipation. Other factors can be caused by lack of exercise, not drinking enough water, and a low fiber diet. That's why it's important to have a healthy diet especially when you get older. It can also be because of medications that contribute to this issue.
4. Kidneys and Urinary Tract
During the older age, you will increase the risk of kidney and bladder problems. Urinary incontinence or not being to hold your urine will occur. Urinary retention or not being able to empty the bladder can also happen. You will also be prone to urinary tract infection and chronic kidney disease.
5. Brain and Nervous System
Aging can affect molecules, cells, vasculature, gross morphology, and cognition. As you age, your brain will shrink particularly the frontal cortex. When the vasculature ages and the blood pressure rises, it will result in a stroke. The ischemic increases and the white matter will develop lesions. Aging can also increase the chance of developing neuropathy, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease.
When you age, your eyes will also be affected. You will have difficulty focusing on objects up close. The eyes will also be more sensitive to glare and can have trouble adapting to light levels. It can also make your eye lens get cloudy vision or develop cataracts.
As you age, your hearing will be affected and it can diminish. High-frequency sounds can get more difficult to hear. You may also not be able to follow a conversation in a crowded room. Hearing loss can be age-related and it can gradually happen on both ears. Since it happens gradually, the affected person may not even notice this change at first.
8. Taste and Smell
Your sense of taste and smell can also be affected as you age. After you reach 60, you may lose the ability to taste sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Your sense of smell will start to fade at 70 years old. It will decrease your ability to taste because of this.
9. Hair, Skin, and Nails
When you reach old age, your skin will become thinner, less elastic, and more fragile. You will also lose the fatty tissues below the skin over time. It will make you bruise more easily so you have to be more careful. Your skin will be drier with the decrease in natural oil production. Wrinkles and age spots will appear and you may also suffer hair loss as well as brittle nails.
Your metabolism will slow down as you age. Decreasing your activities while having the same eating habits will result in weight gain. Maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle will help you avoid extra weight. The increase in weight is not ideal especially when you have brittle bones already.
11. Reproductive Organs
Sexual needs and performance will change as you age. For women, hormone levels fall. The vaginal walls become thinner, dryer, and less elastic. It will also be prone to irritation and yeast infection. For men, importance will occur and erections will take longer to happen. Although sexual needs will not be as they used to be due to illnesses and medications.
1. At what age does your face change most?
You will notice the biggest changes in your face when you teach between 40 to 50 years old. Although it begins as early as 30 years old and continues to change as you get older. The muscle on your face will age with repetitive motions. It can result in lines on your skin and wrinkles will start to set in.
2. At what age does your body start to decline?
The body will start to lose grip of the DNA after you reach 55 years old. It's also when you increase the risk of cancer and other illnesses. The human body is born to die and decay will start to happen after 55 years. At this point, the DNA will start to degenerate. That's why the risk of developing cancer is higher.
3. How do you know if you are aging well?
Aging well means that you're on the right track in maintaining your muscle mass. Slowing the physical and mental health decline means that you're doing a great job. Maintaining a strong cognitive function and a healthy weight are also included. Staying active by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet will help to maintain your health and slow down the aging process.
The aging process is something you cannot avoid. That's why it's better to try your best to age gracefully. It will increase the quality of your life that way. Since you can't stop getting old, slowing it down is the best option that you should try. Start an active lifestyle if you have and your body will thank you for that.