Growing Old: What to Expect and What You Can Do About It

old woman listening to music

Time stops for no one, so growing old is only inevitable. As you age, you begin to experience different changes in your body, from your eyes to your bones. While you cannot stop the hands of time, you can enjoy the entire process of getting old without feeling old. According to the National Institute on Aging, the more common signs of aging include gray hair, wrinkles, and some instances of having “senior moments.”

What Is Aging?

Aging happens because each of us is made up of cells, all 13 trillion of them. These organs and tissues are each a bunch of cells that are joined together with various natural materials. Even before we are born, our cells begin a cycle of aging. During childhood, you are still growing, thus expanding the number of cells that you have. While it is true that your cells are aging even in your childhood years, one can only notice the body growing and developing.

It’s only once you hit your 30’s that you would usually feel and see the tell-tale signs of aging. For one thing, your metabolism slows down at about age 20, but you will also feel it in your vital signs, such as your blood pressure. You will also begin to notice changes in your skin, such as seeing fine lines and wrinkles on your face. You will also feel your joints being stiff, your muscles ache, and your stomach cannot digest certain foods such as dairy or anything spicy.

Aging is a complex factor that causes these changes to our body. Several things affect aging, such as genetics, diet, and exercise.  The good thing is that you can always find a way to age gracefully, and you could even take simple steps to try to lessen or delay these
changes.

1. The Heart Muscle Becomes Less Efficient

As you age, your heart has to work harder for it to pump blood. This is because the wall of the heart becomes thicker, and the aorta, which is the body’s main artery, becomes thicker and less flexible. This is why it takes a while for your heart rate to return to normal, especially after a strenuous exercise routine. According to WebMD, leaving this unchecked can lead to high blood pressure and even serious heart ailments.

To prevent this, avoid a sedentary lifestyle as much as you can. Do your best to stay active, whether it is cycling, running, or swimming. The right amount of exercise will be enough to keep your blood pressure at the normal rate.

It’s also important to keep fruits, whole grains, and vegetables as a part of your diet to keep your heart happy and healthy. A good night’s sleep, at least seven hours, can give your heart and blood vessels ample time to heal and repair themselves.

old man holding vegetables

2. Your Skin Feels Less Elastic

As you age, you begin to notice fine lines and wrinkles on your face and that it feels drier and less supple than it once was. This is because, as you age, your skin will produce less natural oils. Your sweat glands will also produce less sweat, which will make you lose some fatty tissue below your skin, making it thinner.

It’s advised that you use sunscreen and protective clothing, such as a sun hat, your best friend, to prevent dark spots. Consult your doctor when you notice that you have new moles on your face. As much as possible, avoid smoking because these can lead to wrinkles.

3. Sight and Hearing Begin to Deteriorate

As you age, your retinas become thinner, and your irises become stiffer. They will get stiffer, making the lenses of the eyes less clear. You will also find yourself being sensitive to glare. On the other hand, you will also experience being unable to hear conversations in a crowded room or hearing sounds with high frequencies.

You must have regular appointments to get your sight and hearing checked. Wearing sunglasses outdoors will also help protect your eyes from the glare.

Growing older is something that you cannot prevent. However, there are certain things you can do for the aging process to seem like less of a death sentence. For example, taking early screening tests will greatly help in the long run to detect early signs of any diseases, such as cancer.

Immunizations will also help boost your immune systems for such common illnesses as influenza. Temporomandibular disorders a natural byproduct of aging. It happens when trauma to the joint occurs, causing stiffness or pain in the jaws. Dental implants would greatly help as it would improve your bite and align your teeth.

Getting older is a fact of life, but you should always choose to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle to maintain your quality of life.

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