Being Aware of How Your Body Changes As It Ages


While we would all prefer to remain forever young, the test of time does take its toll on our bodies. As we age, we are likely to experience a whole host of bodily changes that can affect our day to day routines and our quality of life. Generally speaking, the sooner we acknowledge these changes, the sooner we will be able to either take action to prevent them from taking place, undergo treatment to minimize their symptoms or prepare ourselves to accommodate for changes in how we function on a day to day basis. So, let’s take a moment to look through a few different conditions that can begin to affect us as we grow older. This will help us to keep an eye out for warning signs, which can spur us on to make relevant and appropriate changes to our lifestyles as and when they spring up!


Visual Deterioration

Our visual capabilities do tend to deteriorate as we age. This is just part of nature’s course. So, it’s important that you book in an eye test at least once every two years in order to allow an optometrist to survey the overall health and functioning of our eyes. Some common conditions that they may diagnose include:

  • Macular Degeneration - this age-related eye disease can affect your ability to read, recognise faces, drive, watch television, or perform other tasks that need fine-detailed vision.

  • Glaucoma - your risk of developing glaucoma significantly increases with each decade after you reach the age of forty. This disease causes damage to the optic nerve through excessive pressure being placed on it by fluids within the eye. This condition doesn’t tend to have many symptoms, so is generally identified through an eye test.

  • Reduced pupil size - optometrists will also be able to identify alternative signs of visual aging besides diseases. As we grow older, the muscles that control the size of our pupils start to lose strength, result in reduced pupil size, which can come hand in hand with less responsive changes to ambient lighting.

Arthritis

While arthritis mainly affects adults over the age of sixty-five, it can affect younger individuals too. This condition causes an individual’s joints to become inflamed. This can consequently cause joint stiffness and pain when then joints are moved, as well as swelling around the joints. Remember that “arthritis” is more of an umbrella term for this type of condition - there are more than one hundred different types of arthritis, so if you ever feel that you may be suffering from this, contact your doctor, who will be able to diagnose you more specifically. This will help to ensure that you receive the correct advice and treatment for your individual condition.

Dementia

Dementia is another disease that is commonly associated with the elderly but remember that individuals can suffer from early onset dementia too. While there isn’t yet an effective treatment or cure for this disease, it is extremely important that you recognize the symptoms in order to effectively plan your care if you do experience the disease. As it progresses, you may not be able to adequately communicate your wants and preferences. Early symptoms of dementia can include:

  • Memory loss - individuals may easily forget names, faces, or events. They may not recognize people who are close to them and who they know well, or they may repeat themselves a lot.

  • Difficulties concentrating  - there may be difficulties concentrating, remembering to answer questions, or struggling to hold a coherent conversation.

  • Lack of organization -  forgetting to carry out tasks or attend plans.

  • Difficulties recalling information - for example, an inability to recall a phone number that you have had for years.

It is also important to bear in mind that there are various causes of dementia. Like arthritis, “dementia” is more of an umbrella term for various different branches of the disease. Here are a few different causes and forms of dementia to familiarise yourself with.

Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is perhaps the best known and most recognized cause of dementia, with between fifty and eighty percent of individuals suffering from dementia having Alzheimer’s disease. This disease causes proteins to build up in the brain, creating structures called “plaques” and “tangles”, which leads to a loss of connections between nerve cells, eventually leading to the death of nerve cells and loss of brain tissue.

Lewy Body

Lewy body is associated with both Parkinson’s disease and Lewy bodies. It sees abnormal protein deposits which disrupt the brain’s functioning and deplete levels of certain vital brain chemicals. These protein deposits can alter thinking, perception, and individual behavior.

Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia accounts for around twenty percent of cases of dementia. This condition sees fat, dead cells, and other debris can be deposited around the arteries, which can limit blood flow and cause a host of problems regarding blood flow to the brain.

These are just a few different conditions that you might want to keep an eye out for as you grow older. Your body is bound to change in various ways, so if you do notice any changes that are proving detrimental to your overall health and wellbeing, it’s best to consult your doctor, who will be able to consult you, diagnose you, and give you further information on your situation. It’s best to do this as soon as you notice changes, as ignoring problems won’t put them off or prevent them from escalating. Instead, you can receive proper care and treatment, helping you to live a better quality of life for a longer period of time!

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