It goes without saying that aging takes a pretty significant toll on the body. If you aren’t experiencing it yourself, you have no doubt seen relatives who have suffered from the negative effects of aging. But, have you ever wondered what the precise, physiological effects of aging are? In this article, you are going to see a more detailed explanation of what happens to your body as it starts to get older.
One of the leading causes of death of people over the age of 80 is heart attacks. This may make you wonder exactly what aging does to your heart and circulatory system for this to be the case. Everyone’s heart muscles contract periodically, this is known as myocardial contractility. Studies have shown that older people’s hearts contract for longer than a younger person’s heart does. This greatly increases the chances of heart failure. Now, the heart does adjust a bit for this, but it is still isn’t enough to offset the issue, which is why older people suffer from heart attacks at a greater rate than younger people.
As people age, there is a general degradation of the immune system. Why this is exactly is unclear, but it is generally accepted. This is why it is considered so important for the elderly to be kept away from sick people and why it is important for them to get vaccinations on time. It is also why certain diseases are deadlier to elderly people.
While the decline of the respiratory system isn’t as pronounced as the decline of other systems in the body, it is still there. As you get older, your lung capacity slowly decreases. There are slight differences in sex, with women’s lung capacity decreasing at a slightly slower rate, but the end result is the same. Thankfully, this decrease can be offset by things like cardio, staying thin, and other general health tips.
Older people’s bladders simply don’t have the capacity of younger people’s bladders. As a person gets older, their bladder can hold less urine and their ability to hold in urine decreases. A younger person will only start to feel the need to pee when their bladder is over half full. An older person will feel the need when their bladder is well-under half full. Finally, as many of you no doubt, know incontinence becomes a bigger issue as well when people age because the bladder weakens.
What Are the Main Physical Effects of Aging?
Pretty much everyone knows that getting older has severe physical effects on your body, but not everyone knows the specifics of what aging really does. The purpose of this article is to explore, that in a bit more depth.
Bone density is one of those things that really takes a hit as you get older. One of the reasons why older people suffer from bone issues is because we age, our body slowly loses bone density. Unlike a few other issues caused by aging, this can’t be reversed, it can only be slowed. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can keep bones strong into old age, but they will never be as strong as the bones of a younger person.
Muscle Mass and Flexibility:
Much like with bones, muscles also lose muscles mass at a much faster rate as we age. This is a big part of the reason why you very rarely see older people with muscles. Simply put, as you age, maintaining even a bit of muscle mass becomes a struggle. Muscles also become more prone to snapping because they lose flexibility.
Again, many of you are no doubt familiar with the fact that many older people suffer from heart issues. This is yet another unfortunate consequence of aging. As people get older, their blood vessels start to loosen. This makes it harder for the heart to transport blood back and forth throughout the body. The heart has to beat more often, which puts more strain on it, which then causes issues. Older people are at a greater risk of developing heart-related issues and having heart attacks.
Brain degradation is one of the most unfortunate aspects of aging, as anyone who has ever had a relative with dementia can tell you. We all have brain cells, and as we age, those brain cells start to die off. As brain cells die or decay, the functions of the brain start to decay as well. This is why older people can suffer from memory loss, experience trouble following things, etc. Unlike a lot of other things mentioned in this article, brain degradation is a bit more varied. People who do activities that result in damage to the brain, like trauma-inducing activities or drinking often suffer worse brain degradation. Likewise, those who stay away from those activities and who engage in brain-stimulating activities (puzzles, reading, etc.) can often remain quite mentally sharp, even well into their old age.