April 2

Aging – Solutions to Slow the Creeping Decay

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Aging is not a simple process of sagging, bagging, wrinkling and getting weaker.  

Physiological ageing is the fancy term that describes the slow, insidious decay of our bodies after a certain age. Most of the changes are out of our control and occur quite gradually, while others have a more sudden arrival. 

Here are some of the changes you can expect (or are already experiencing!) and some solutions to improve them or slow them down.

CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM:

Blood vessels and heart valves lose their elasticity. Blood flow reduces as a result of vessel walls thickening and fatty deposits lining the walls. The heart loses its blood pumping efficiency.
This results in shortness of breath, feeling tired and flat and losing the ability to exercise.

The cardiovascular solutions:

  • regular exercise program, 
  • Maintain a reasonable weight, 
  • Stop smoking (although that applies with anything to do with health!) and 
  • Eat healthy foods (lots of vegetables and little (or no!) fast food). If you do this, you may feel quite deprived, but you may well avoid the unpleasantness of cardiac problems.    

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM:

Blood vessels and heart valves lose their elasticity. Blood flow reduces as a result of vessel walls thickening and fatty deposits lining the walls. The heart loses its blood pumping efficiency.
This results in shortness of breath, feeling tired and flat and losing the ability to exercise.

The respiratory system solutions:

  • A regular exercise program will certainly help. 
  • Practice breathing properly. It may seem strange to have to learn to breathe correctly when you’ve been doing it since your first gasp at birth. But most people breathe badly, well enough to stay alive but not well enough to benefit their health. 

MUSCULAR SYSTEM:

There is a gradual loss of muscle tone, elasticity and strength. Muscle is replaced with fatty tissue leaving you with the soft, flabby bits. Muscular endurance and strength evaporate.
The day will come when you’ve lost so much strength that you need someone to open the jelly jar!

The muscular system solutions:

  • A regular exercise program and 
  • Having a healthy diet will help maintain strength and muscle tone. 

SKELETAL SYSTEM:

Over the years, bones become more porous and brittle as they lose their ability to regenerate. Bone degeneration is more pronounced in women who become prone to fractures and osteoporosis.

The skeletal system solutions:

  • A regular exercise program. 
  • This degeneration can be retarded by eating a diet high in calcium and vitamin D. 
  • Walking is an excellent exercise, very therapeutic and enjoyable. 

METABOLIC SYSTEM:

There may be a gradual decline in the activity of the thyroid gland and a decrease in the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin.
The body then loses its ability to use fats and sugars and to convert them into energy.
Weight increases, and you may develop adult-onset diabetes. There will be a decrease in energy as well as an inability to handle stress.

The metabolic system solutions:

  • A regular exercise program, 
  • Eat less, avoid junk food and reduce your sugar and fat intake.

So far, you may have recognised a pattern so far – 5 out of 5 solutions, “a regular exercise program.” 

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM:

The digestive tract is generally hard-wearing and tough. But over time, slight changes can cause some distress. For example, there is a decrease in the secretion of saliva and enzymes necessary for digestion—the secretion reduction can result in problems with indigestion, elimination and adequate absorption of nutrients.

Your digestive system solution:

  • Eat a balanced diet high in fibre and fluids. Avoid eating heavy meals. Try eating slower, and having small, frequent meals can enhance the digestive process.

NEUROLOGICAL SYSTEM:

Over time messages take a slightly longer time to pass from the nerves to the muscles. Then the muscles take a longer time to react to these messages—so slower responses

Also, the perception of pain may decrease with an increase in the time to react to it. 

This loss of feeling may seem like a blessing at times as injuries and aches don’t hurt so much.

There is also a change in the wake-sleep cycle where you may find yourself not sleeping as much at night.

Your neurological system solutions:

GENITO-URINARY SYSTEM:

The ability of the kidneys to filter and reabsorb may also decrease. Men experience prostate enlargement, while women have hormonal changes.

Your genito-urinary system solution:

  • An occasional medical check-up may be the best solution when symptoms arise.

SENSORY SYSTEM:

The body loses sensory sharpness. 

The sense of touch reduces, as does the ability to hear some high-pitched sounds. The ability to smell reduces, and some of the sweet and salty taste buds are lost. 

The lenses of your eyes may lose their ability to accommodate, so you find yourself reading at arm’s length. The size of the pupil may decrease, making it harder to adapt to dim light (night driving becomes more hazardous). There may also be a yellowing of the lens and a decrease in colour perception. 

Your sensory system solution:

  • Ask people to speak slower.
  • Add colour, variety, and healthy spices and herbs to your food to make meals more appealing.
  • Decreasing glare while increasing the light will help you to see more clearly.

HAIR, SKIN AND FACE :

Turning grey is one of the most noticeable changes that occur with age. Hair begins to grey in the late twenties and thirties. With almost everyone having some grey hair by the age of forty.

Although, as with every other aspect of aging, there are distinct differences between family and ethnic groups. 

Your hair colour solution:

  • One standard solution is to dye your hair with one of the safe, vegetable-based dyes or rinses available in the market.

In addition to greying (instead called silvering), a percentage of men become bald, or hair starts thinning. 

Your disappearing hair solution:

  • Try hair restoration products, and if that doesn’t work, do the Elton John thing and have an implant procedure. 

As the skin ages, the various layers lose their ability to retain fluids. There may also be a loss of some of the fatty deposits under the skin. It even loses some of its elasticity. As a result, the skin becomes wrinkled, dry and easily bruised. 

Your disappearing hair solution:

  • Avoid too much sun (“mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun”), wear a good sunblock and use a moisturising cream
  • Don’t believe all the adverts for ‘beauty products that will make wrinkles disappear (if it sounds too good to be true … it is!!). 
  • The recent development of a vitamin A-related agent, Retin-A, applied to the skin over months, increases the blood supply and thickens aging skin. The changes in the face and skin that occur with aging are natural and normal and only concern vanity. 
  • But suppose you become dissatisfied with the way you look and want to ‘help’ nature a little bit. In that case, there are several medical possibilities, one of them being cosmetic surgery.

Aging Conclusion

All of these changes are inevitable. The changes are unstoppable but only slowed down. 

The important thing is to be the best you can be

Exercise regularly, eat healthily, have a positive mindset and the onset of aging will be a mere and minor irritation. 


Tags

ageing, ageing well, aging gracefully, aging process, breathing issues


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