8 normal signs of aging and what to do about them
Skin changes that occur as you age include:
- Thinning and decreased elasticity
- Fragility and easy bruising
- Dryness and less production of oil
- Wrinkles, age spots, and skin tags
To slow or prevent premature skin aging, you can take the following precautions:
As you get older, you may experience vision problems and are at greater risk of developing:
- Presbyopia (condition in which the lens becomes stiff and does not readjust to refocus from distance to near vision)
- Cataracts (condition in which the lens becomes clouded)
- Glaucoma (condition in which pressure in the eye increases and causes damage to the optic nerve)
Consult a doctor if you observe the following symptoms:
Hearing loss is common in older adults, especially after the age of 60. Age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis and is characterized by difficulty hearing high-frequency sounds or following a conversation in a crowded room.
If you experience symptoms such as ear pain, drainage, or rapid hearing loss, it may be a sign of a tumor or infection and should be examined by your doctor.
Normal signs of aging in the teeth include:
- Gums recession
- Dry mouth
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Flossing regularly
- Visiting your dentist for regular checkups
Changes in the heart seen with aging include:
- Stiffening of the blood vessels and arteries
- Heart muscles work harder
- Changes in heart rate and blood pressure
You can combat some of these adverse effects by:
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a healthy diet
- Quitting smoking
- Managing stress
- Getting enough sleep
- Limiting or avoiding alcohol
6. Bones, joints, and muscles
Aging can affect your bones, joints, and muscles in the following ways:
- Reduced bone density
- Weakened bones that are more susceptible to fractures
- Loss of muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility
You can prevent age-related problems with bones, joints, and muscles with the following tips:
- Get adequate amounts of calcium:
- Up to 1,000 mg for adults under age 51
- Up to 1,200 mg daily for men over age 71 and women over age 51
- Get adequate amounts of vitamin D:
- 600 international units (IU) for adults under age 70
- 800 IU for adults over age 70
- Exercise regularly to help build strong bones and slow bone loss
- Avoid smoking and limit alcohol
7. Digestive system
You can improve your digestion with:
8. Bladder and urinary tract
Age-related changes to the bladder and urinary tract may include:
- Weakening of bladder muscles and pelvic floor
- Urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control)
Ways to promote urinary tract and bladder health include the following tips:
13 ways to promote healthy aging
If you want to age gracefully and lower your risk of major chronic diseases and disabilities, here are some tips to follow:
- Eat healthy. Eat a healthy diet rich in fresh produce, whole grains, seafood, and healthy fats and reduce your intake of processed and sugary foods.
- Exercise regularly. Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise every week. Include low impact exercises such as walking, jogging, tennis, climbing stairs, and weight training in your daily routine to help build strong bones and slow down bone loss.
- Get enough sleep. Get at least 7-9 hours of quality sleep by following good sleep hygiene. Keep a fixed sleeping schedule, make your bedroom comfortable, minimize distractions, and follow a relaxing bedtime routine
- Quit smoking. Quitting cigarettes can improve your blood circulation and stamina as well as lower your risk of heart attack, lung disease, and cancer.
- Limit alcohol. Ask your doctor about how much alcohol is safe for your age, sex, and general health.
- Keep your mind stimulated. Engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as reading, writing, and playing games.
- Get enough vitamin C. Get adequate amounts of calcium of up to 1,000 mg for adults under51 and up to 1,200 mg daily for men over 71 and women over 51.
- Get enough vitamin D. Get adequate amounts of vitamin D of up to 600 international units (IU) for adults 70 or younger and 800 IU for those older than 70.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Lose excess weight if you are overweight.
- Keep your bladder healthy. Avoid bladder irritants that can worsen incontinence, such as caffeine, alcohol, carbonated beverages, and acidic foods.
- Take care of your skin. Use mild soap and moisturizer to maintain skin health. Apply sunscreen whenever stepping outdoors.
- Take care of your teeth. Brush your floss regularly. Visit your dentist for regular dental checkups.
- Treat your medical conditions. Keep your blood pressure and blood sugar under check.
Marill MC. Is This Normal Aging or Not? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/normal-aging-changes-and-symptoms
Mayo Clinic. Aging: What to expect. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/aging/art-20046070
National Institutes of Health. What Do We Know About Healthy Aging? https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-do-we-know-about-healthy-aging
Fuchs J, Scheidt-Nave C, Hinrichs T, et al. Indicators for healthy aging--a debate. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2013;10(12):6630-6644. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3881131/
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