Forms of Silent Aging- And what to do about it
We all know that graying hair and those pesky crow’s feet are all part of aging. We scrutinize ourselves in front of the bathroom mirror and hope that this is the morning the clock will decided to stop and leave us as the ageless noble beings we know we are. Sadly, the clock ticks on, and we continue to douse ourselves in moisturizer and hair dye. We to maintain an ageless façade, but how often do we think of the aging going on within our bodies? And for that matter, do they make moisturizer for that? The Mayo Clinic has a lot to say on the matter of aging and sheds light on what is happening within our bodies.
1. Your heart: Over time, your heart muscle becomes less efficient — working harder to pump the same amount of blood through your body. In addition, your blood vessels lose some of their elasticity and hardened fatty deposits may form on the inner walls of your arteries (atherosclerosis). These changes make your arteries stiffer, causing your heart to work even harder to pump blood through them. This can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension) and other cardiovascular problems.
What to do about it: To promote heart health, include physical activity in your daily routine. Try walking, swimming or other physical activities. Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. If you smoke, ask your doctor to help you quit. Your risk of heart disease will begin to fall almost immediately.
2. Your bones, joints and muscles: With age, bones tend to shrink in size and density which weakens them and makes them more susceptible to fracture. You might even become a bit shorter. Muscles generally lose strength and flexibility, and you may become less coordinated or have trouble balancing.
What to do about it: Include plenty of calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Build bone density with weight-bearing activities, such as walking. Consider strength training at least twice a week, too. By stressing your bones, strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Building muscle also protects your joints from injury and helps you maintain flexibility and balance.
3. Your digestive system: Constipation is more common in older adults. Many factors can contribute to constipation, including a low-fiber diet, not drinking enough fluids and lack of exercise. Various medications, including diuretics and iron supplements, may contribute to constipation. Certain medical conditions, including diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome, may increase the risk of constipation as well.
What to do about it: To prevent constipation, drink water and other fluids and eat a healthy diet — including plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Don’t ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. If you’re taking medications that may contribute to constipation, ask your doctor about alternatives.
4. Your memory: Memory tends to becomes less efficient with age, as the number of cells (neurons) in the brain decreases. It may take longer to learn new things or remember familiar words or names.
What to do about it: To keep your memory sharp, include physical activity in your daily routine and eat a healthy diet. It’s also helpful to stay mentally and socially active. If you’re concerned about memory loss, consult your doctor.
5. Your eyes and ears: With age, the eyes are less able to produce tears, the retinas thin, and the lenses gradually become less clear. Focusing on objects that are close up may become more difficult. You may become more sensitive to glare and have trouble adapting to different levels of light. Your hearing may dim somewhat as well. You may have difficulty hearing high frequencies or following a conversation in a crowded room.
What to do about it: Schedule regular vision and hearing exams — then follow your doctor’s advice about glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids and other corrective devices. To prevent further damage, wear sunglasses when you’re outdoors and use earplugs when you’re around loud machinery or other loud noises.
6. Your weight: Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight, if you’re overweight, is more difficult as you get older. Muscle mass tends to decrease with age, which leads to an increase in fat. Since fat tissue burns fewer calories than does muscle, you may need to reduce the number of calories in your diet or increase your physical activity simply to maintain your current weight.
What to do about it: To prevent unwanted weight gain, include physical activity in your daily routine and eat a healthy diet. Also keep an eye on portion sizes. You might not need to eat as much as you used to.
While the fountain of youth cannot be contained in a bottle, the advice provided by the Mayo Clinic can, in fact slow the clock on aging and help us make the most of our years.
If one thing is inevatible it’s aging. As the six signs of silent aging creep up you may notice that it is not as easy for you to do all the things you used to. Having homecare can make your life easier. Caregivers at home can help you prepare nutritious meals, help with light housekeeping, remind you to take your medications on time and provide companionship. Home care for Seniors can help you keep the life you love as you age.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Aging: What to Expect as You Get Older.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 7 Aug. 2010. Web. 29 Dec. 2011. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aging/HA00040#