We all age and, unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do to stop it. However, learning the bodily changes of aging will help us cope with the aging process. Better yet, we could empathize with our elderly loved ones.
Following are some of the bodily changes that the elderly go through:
Collagen production declines
A young human body produces high levels of collagen- the protein responsible for smooth, soft, and firm skin. However, its production starts to decrease at about the age of 25 and continues to drop as women enter the menopausal stage. This lack of collagen results in sagging and wrinkly skin—two noticeable signs of aging that cannot be remedied by splashing tons of skincare products.
Sweat glands shrink
Wondering why elderly people tend to sweat less than young adults? Here is the reason. As we grow old, apocrine sweat glands, especially those found in your underarms shrink and become less sensitive. As a result, older people do not perspire as younger adults do.
Muscle mass decreases
Whether we like or not, muscle mass starts to decline at the age of 30. By the age of 75, your fat content becomes twice of what you have when you were younger. So, having regular muscle stimulating exercises does not guarantee a lean physique especially when your body starts to age.
Brain gets smaller
Certain parts of the brain especially those responsible for learning, memory, and other complex mental activities get smaller as we age. The prefrontal cortex and hippocampus shrink and this could be the reason why it’s hard sometimes to teach an old dog new tricks. What’s worse, your brain starts to lose neurons at a rate of 50, 000 per day when you reach 30.
However, it’s worth mentioning that you can improve your thinking faculties even at an old age.
Reflexes slow down
Age also affects our hard-wired reflexes–our body’s mechanism to protect us from injury. For one thing, the parts of the brain involved in motor control lose cells as time goes by. Also, changes in the nerve fibers delay conduction. However, the effect of aging on reflexes and response time varies from one to another.
Vision gets blurry
After we reach the age of 40, its common to experience difficulty in focusing objects even in short distances. The reason is the lens in our eyes starts to lose its ability to change shape or what is called presbyopia. Other age-related eye diseases include cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.
Taste buds decreases
We are born with 9,000 taste buds but unfortunately between the ages of 40 and 50, this number decreases. By the time you reach 60, you might not be able to identify the taste of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter foods as you might have lost half of your taste buds.
Digestion gets slower
As we age, eating and digestion can become more difficult. Aside from the loss of appetite, the food also moves slowly inside the digestive tract due to slow muscle contractions. This causes food to absorb more water which could lead to constipation– a bowel disorder characterized by painful or infrequent bowel movements and dry stool.
Body odor gets more distinct
The so-called “old person smell” is also one of the effects of aging. According to research, a compound known as 2-nonenal was only found in participants aged 40 and above. This compound is the result of the oxidative breakdown of other chemicals over time and produces an unpleasant greasy and grassy odor.
Fret not, you’ll be fine
Without a doubt, aging comes with new challenges but rather than being upset in the stage you’re in, isn’t it better to find ways how to age happily? The transition may not be easy but it will help if you always look at the bright side of life as aging comes with perks as well.
Source: UC San Diego Health