There’s nothing we can do about getting older. From the moment we are born, we age with every second that passes.
Despite our biological age being unchangeable, there are things that we can do to help ourselves look and feel younger than we are. We’re not just talking about buying anti-aging creams to get rid of fine lines, getting surgical procedures to minimize deep wrinkles, or dyeing your grey hairs.
We’re talking about making positive lifestyle choices to maximize your health and well-being. Aging doesn’t just show up in your skin. It also reflects on the health of your internal organs too. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can slow down the rate of aging, even as you pass significant birthdays and milestones in your life.
When you spot more grey hair and a few extra wrinkles, or you begin to notice that your joints are aching more often than not, these are all signs of aging. Although these signs are nothing to worry about, it’s important to recognize them so that you know when you might need to take more preventative steps.
Here are four of the most common signs of aging to look out for as you get older.
1. Reduced Mobility
Around half of all older adults suffer from arthritis, which is a condition that causes inflammation and pain around the joints. Arthritic joints are often swollen and stiff, making them harder to move.
The more you move a joint, the more it is exposed to wear and tear. So, as you age and go through your life, your joints become more worn away. In some people, the cartilage in the joints starts to deteriorate, and this causes the bones to rub together.
When two bones rub together, it can be very painful, and it increases the swelling around the joint. This can worsen with age and makes it difficult for an older person to move around as much as they once did.
Reduced mobility is exacerbated by the shrinkage of the bones that occurs naturally with age. The bones lose density and get weaker, meaning older people are more prone to fractures if they fall. The muscles around the joints also get weaker, further increasing the risk of falls.
Luckily, there are things that you can do if you experience a reduction in your joint mobility. You can work on improving and maintaining muscle strength, as well as practice regular mobility and flexibility routines.
If you want to feel safer as you age, you can get a medical alert system that you can keep on your person. When you have a fall, your alert system can connect you directly to a 24/7 emergency call center. You can get immediate medical attention if needed.
2. Reduced Cardiovascular Function
Throughout your life, your blood vessels can harden and become stiff. Your arteries aren’t as flexible as they once were, and this means that your heart must work harder to pump the blood around your body efficiently.
When your heart has to work harder to perform its normal functions, it can increase the risk of cardiovascular issues later down the line. The increased workload can stress the heart muscle and cause your blood pressure to rise.
High blood pressure damages your blood vessels and can cause blockages in major arteries, leading to stroke or heart failure. When this occurs, you might spot symptoms, such as breathlessness, tightness in the chest, and changes in your vision or balance. If you experience a sudden onset of any of these symptoms, you must see a doctor immediately.
Regular exercise will help you to feel more alive and energized while keeping your cardiovascular system healthy. It keeps your muscles working optimally, including your heart muscle, and improves the capacity of your lungs.
3. Urinary Incontinence
Another common sign of aging is the reduced ability to hold urine in your bladder for long periods of time. As you age, your bladder muscle becomes weaker, and you might start to need the toilet more often than before.
The weakening of the bladder and pelvic floor muscles can lead to urinary incontinence, where you are unable to hold things in until you get to a toilet. Weak muscles can also make it difficult to empty your bladder completely when you do reach the toilet.
Alongside aging, certain medical conditions can cause urinary incontinence, such as diabetes, nerve damage, overconsumption of alcohol, enlarged prostate, and bladder cancer. It’s important to get regular check-ups with the doctor to check your general health.
If you notice changes in your frequency of urination, you have a constant feeling that you need the toilet, or you are no longer able to hold in your urine, seek medical attention as soon as you can.
4. Reduced Memory and Cognitive Decline
Your brain is constantly changing, and it begins to shrink as you age. When certain areas of your brain begin to deteriorate, it can become to affect your cognitive function and your memory.
Older adults might start to forget people’s names or they might struggle to multitask like they used to do. Both of these things are common signs amongst the aging population. While memory loss and cognitive decline aren’t fully preventable, there are things that you can do to keep your brain as healthy as possible.
Some great way to maintain a healthy brain and great memory are:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Regularly exercising
- Eating a nutritious diet
- Keeping your brain active by participating in mentally-stimulating activities, such as knitting, playing an instrument, quizzes, and reading activities
The first signs of memory loss might not be noticeable at first. We all forget things every now and then. However, if it starts to significantly impact your life, it’s worth going to see the doctor and getting professional advice.