What Happens To Us As We Age?
Our body is constantly put through a series of changes every minute; we call it the process of 'aging'. Aging is an accumulation of biological changes over a period of time. Trillions of cells in our body are constantly changing, some get destroyed or die and at the same time new cells are formed every minute, these accounts for our body's growth. Birthdays are an important event in everyone's life that measures our age. Aging is normally associated with wrinkles, dark spots, hair loss and many other things, but it is much more than just all of these. Aging is a process not just related to superficial physical changes, but also related to psychological and social changes. Although aging is more visible externally, there are a lot of internal effects of aging as well, which are most critical. As we grow old, it is important for all of us to know what the normal course of aging is and what is not.
What Happens to Our Brain as We Age?
The brain is the most complex part of the human body, consisting of many different areas and various types of tissues that undergo different structural changes. Some brain regions shrink, while others remain stable as we age. Aging of the brain also impairs the ability of the brain to encode or decode new memories and facts, while processing speed and reflexes decline. Brain aging can also put one through the risk of having neurological diseases like Parkinson, Alzheimer, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and so on.
What Happens to Our Skin and Hair as We Age?
This part of aging is visible and very prominent. Our skin begins to develop wrinkles and dark spots (normally called age spots also). The ability of skin to produce oils reduces, resulting in dry and lustreless skin. Hair becomes thinner than normal and changes in hair colour from gray initially to white eventually marks aging.
What Happens to Our Bones as We Age?
As we age, bone strength gradually begins to decline. The friction between the joints increases (as the lubrication is reduced) causing pain while moving. The bones also become porous and there is a gradual yet constant loss of density and strength. Bones are reservoirs of minerals like calcium and phosphorus, but during the process of aging, there is a typical depletion of these minerals making bones fragile and weak.
What Happens to Our Hearing and Vision as We Age?
The retinas become thinner than usual in aging eyes, the sharpness achieved in viewing objects at a distance is impaired, and objects placed at a distance appear blurred. The irises get stiffened; hence, the pupils become less responsive and more sensitive to glare. Eye problems like cataracts and glaucoma are common as you age. Aging also leads to hearing loss. The eardrums thicken, making hearing more difficult than usual. Moreover, exposure to loud noise after 60 years of age can lead to permanent damage of ear cells, or wax building in the eardrums can lead to various infections and diseases.
What Happens to Our Heart as We Age?
As we age, the blood vessels lose their elasticity and fatty deposition on the artery walls makes the arteries smaller or rather narrows down, as a result, blood flow to the heart slows down. All these factors make the heart work harder than usual to pump blood to other parts of the body. The result is hypertension, cardiac arrest, arteriosclerosis and other serious disorders.
The process of aging
The process of aging is unavoidable, however the effects of which vary from person to person and so does its severity. Why we grow old is an enigma, but it is a universal truth which cannot be challenged, and there is no magic capsule or tablet invented yet to stop the process of 'aging'.
Although aging comes in with its own discomforts like aches, pains, sags and forgetfulness; regular exercise, relaxation techniques, keeping stress under control and taking good care of your body and brain can ensure a more active and pain-free old age