What happens to the human body as we age

What happens to the human body as we age? What factors have shown evidence they speed up or slow down the aging process? What happens in the brain when a person has symptoms of Alzheimer’s or Dementia? 


Ageing is the process of getting old. With time, various natural changes occur in the body which are collectively put under the process of ageing. Some of the changes are common to most human beings and also among males and females while some of the changes vary with gender. Also, the time at which such changes appear varies greatly among various individuals depending on various factors discussed later in this article.

Ageing is a process feared unanimously amongst human population and not without a reason. There are various changes that a person experiences as he gets old. Some of them are:-

1.      Bones tend to become weaker as a person ages. This means a greater probability of a fracture in case of an accident.

2.      Swallowing food becomes cumbersome and great difficulty is experienced. This happens due to a change in the head position which results in compression of throat.

3.      Joints become more susceptible to injury in case of an accident. Also, joints, especially leg joints, pain a lot as a person experiences ageing.

4.      Muscle strength decreases with age. Hence, it can be pretty discouraging to experience a helplessness in performing trivial tasks.

5.      Vision in dim light reduces further with age. Hence, older people demand brighter light conditions.

6.      The ability of eyes to distinguish between various colors belonging to a family is reduced.

7.      The ability to taste and smell reduces with age.

8.      The skin becomes thinner and its elasticity diminishes with age.

9.      The fatty layer beneath the skin becomes thinner. Hence, with age, a person loses a potent defence weapon against cold.

10.  With age, a person becomes less sensitive to various temperature changes and even pain. This is because of a weary and teary nervous system which is no longer as efficient as it used to be at a younger age.

11.  Mostly, an increase in the blood pressure is observed with age. This happens due to a decrease in the efficiency of heart to pump blood as well as due to stiffening of arteries.

12.  Body becomes more prone to aerial infections as ability to cough diminishes as well as lungs are now less efficient at fighting invading pathogens.

13.  Constipation may be observed in some individuals due to improper functioning of the large intestine.

14.  A loss of voluntary control over urination is lost with age and hence, older people are more likely to experience involuntary urination.

15.  In females, breasts lose their firmness and tend to sag, hence, affecting the physical appearance considerably. Also, this makes the detection of breast cancers a tougher task.

16.  Menopause is experienced in women near the age of 50.

17.  In males, libido decreases with age but is not eliminated. Also, testosterone levels tend to reduce.

18.  Though a male can still have an erection even at an older age, the erection may not last for as long as it used to at a younger age. Also, a second erection may not be possible immediately or may take a longer time.

19.  Lesser number of blood cells are produced owing to a decrease in bone marrow. Such a situation endangers a person in case of blood loss.

20.  Tendency to contract cancer increases with age.

21.  Hearing loss is pretty common with age.

22.  Development of wrinkles can be witnessed.

23.  Greying of hair is observed. A complete loss of hair may be observed in certain males with age.

Factors that speed up ageing:-

1.      Psychological factors play a vital role in speeding or slowing the ageing process. Mental state of a person is a factor often not considered as seriously in relation to ageing as it should be. A happy soul greatly enhances the probability of delaying or even eliminating heart problems and high blood pressure. An angry attitude is a tonic for wrinkle development and can permanently affect face appearance.

2.      Smoking and drinking are two of the most common health problems that speed up ageing. They cause discoloration of face and also dehydrate the body. A dehydrated body can never look healthy. Deep wrinkles on the face are also promoted by smoking. Bad teeth is another side effect of smoking. Drinking leads to the development of spider veins as well as a poor muscle appearance. Over time, a smoker or a drinker can be recognised easily in a crowd.

3.      All that glitters is not gold! Sun has a lot of advantages but excessive sun basking is the prime reason of wrinkle development and ageing. Similar affect is observed over time in a person who works or lives in excessively cold areas. Face discoloration is highly promoted by both the extreme weather conditions.

4.      Usage of chemicals to enhance beauty or treat conditions such as acne can have disastrous effects and lead to ageing.

5.      Improper diet intake or wrong diet intake greatly contribute to ageing.

6.      Stress enhances ageing and is a major speed up factor amongst human population around the globe.

7.      Lifestyle choices such as lack of exercise, wrong body posture, unscrupulous routine et al contribute to ageing.

Factors that slow down ageing:-

Although we cannot escape from ageing, we can definitely slow it down.

1.      Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants can help a person in leading a longer and healthier life.

2.      Intake of green, leafy vegetables and avoiding food rich in fats and sugar goes a long way in slowing ageing process.

3.      Avoidance of intentional sun bathing helps reduce ageing.

4.      A stress free, disciplined lifestyle helps to live a better life.

Alzheimer's: Effect on brain:-

1.      Brain size reduces drastically, leading to functional impairment.

2.      Nerve cell death occurs in the brain.

3.      Fluid filled spaces within the brain increase in size.

4.      Abnormal clusters of protein fragments, known as plaques, are observed between nerve cells in brain.

5.      Nutrients are unable to move to cells and cell death is the ultimate eventuality.

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