Although it is impossible to reverse the aging process, the natural effects of aging should not take you by surprise or stop you from living the life you want. Studies show that people who maintain a healthy lifestyle and get regular health screenings can manage many age-related health conditions relatively well.
Here are six effects of aging and the best ways to manage them.
1. Cardiovascular Problems
One of the most prevalent effects of aging is stiffness of the blood vessels and arteries. As this happens, your heart must work harder to pump blood through the cardiovascular system, and your heart muscles must handle an increased workload. Many people first notice the difference during physical activities, which become harder to perform as we age.
Age-related cardiovascular problems manifest as high blood pressure (hypertension) or more severe forms such as heart attacks or strokes. It can be scary to think about all these risks, but we cannot ignore them: heart disease is a leading cause of death in the developed world.
A vital thing to remember is that a healthy diet and regular aerobic exercise can help you maintain excellent cardiovascular health in your retirement years. Lifestyle and heart health are intricately connected.
2. Hearing Loss
Although hearing loss is not life-threatening like cardiovascular or respiratory issues, it can have a massive negative impact on a person’s life. Hearing loss is common in adults over the age of 65 because aging causes a wide range of changes in sensory perception. All your senses – hearing, vision, touch, smell, and taste will be gradually affected in some way or another by aging. The effects can range from unnoticeable to severe.
Dealing with hearing loss can be difficult because it can affect your lifestyle and relationships. It is thus critical to pay attention to warning signs and seek a hearing evaluation as soon as you notice something unusual.
If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, have a look at the best hearing aids. These devices are an excellent help for people with hearing loss, either mild or moderately severe.
3. Respiratory Issues
The heart and the lungs are the first major organs that show signs of aging. Age-related respiratory illnesses are common, and bad habits or environmental factors can intensify them. Adults over the age of 65 are more likely to contract bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, and COPD and also more likely to develop severe symptoms. The medical explanation is that the lungs lose their elasticity as they age. Even healthy seniors may occasionally experience shortness of breath, sleep apnea, or abnormal breathing patterns.
An important thing to remember is that respiratory problems are not an inherent part of aging. They are statistically likely to occur, but every person has a unique experience in this regard. People who stay physically active throughout their lives have stronger and healthier lungs, so aging affects their respiratory system to a lesser degree. Fitness and lung health go hand in hand.
4. Weaker Muscles
Another effect of aging is the loss of muscle mass. As our bodies age, our muscles slowly shrink. Muscle tissue becomes stiffer and less capable of tolerating stress. The fibers become fewer and smaller. These are natural processes that cannot be avoided. However, a sedentary lifestyle can significantly accelerate them.
With every decade, the muscles become less reliable. Accomplishing routine activities becomes more taxing on the body. As both the heart and the muscles age, people get tired more easily, and recovery takes longer. Older adults who want to stay physically active must adapt to these conditions and reduce the intensity and frequency of their workouts.
An interesting aspect is that older adults can benefit from moderate exercise such as walking or swimming, just as younger adults benefit from vigorous exercise routines.
5. Skin Concerns
The skin is the largest organ of the body and also the one that shows the most visible signs of aging. Most of us associate aging with wrinkles. How does aging affect the skin? As you age, your skin becomes thinner and loses its elasticity. The layer of fatty tissue below the skin also becomes thinner. As a result of all these changes, aging skin develops wrinkles and looks drier.
Wrinkles, age spots, small growths, and hyperpigmentation are common signs of aging skin. Unfortunately, it can be impossible to remove wrinkles and restore the skin’s elasticity and glow after a certain age. The best way to manage age-related skin concerns is to adopt a skincare routine adapted to your age.
The only way to avoid skin problems at an older age is to take precautionary measures early in life. Sleeping well, using sunscreen daily, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and maintaining a healthy diet are lifetime habits that promote a healthy skin.
Sunscreen, moisturizer, protective clothing, sunglasses, and hats can help prevent skin damage. Cosmetic procedures for skin rejuvenation are also a viable option.
6. Memory Loss
Aging also affects brain functioning in various ways. A common experience that most older adults have is forgetting familiar names and addresses or not recalling details regarding important moments from the past. Even young adults have episodes of memory loss, but these episodes become more frequent as we age.
Older adults report feeling that their memory and thinking skills are not as sharp as in the past but that this impression is rather occasional than permanent. Various studies show that memorizing new information and multitasking becomes more difficult as we age. However, experiencing infrequent episodes of memory loss is not something to worry about. At the same time, we should acknowledge that memory loss is a symptom associated with debilitating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease when it appears in a pronounced form.
To protect your cognitive health, include exercise and mentally stimulating activities in your daily schedule. Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fish.
Aging determines many transformations in the body. A healthy lifestyle can help you ensure these transformations will not affect your quality of life.