You may have heard people say ‘it’s all downhill after 40’. While there is an element of truth in this, it doesn’t have to mean it changes for the worse. You can embrace aging and look forward to those changes. However, there can be negative changes associated with getting older.
Let’s take a look at some of the effects aging can have on you, your body, and your mind.
Changes to your vision can occur as you age due to many different reasons. These can include general wear and tear, genetics, diseases, or environmental factors. It is quite common to suffer from something called dry eye, particularly if you are over the age of 50. This is caused by the production of mucus and tears from the tear ducts lessening over time. It can be treated by regularly using eye drops to keep your eye from drying out, these can either be over the counter or from your doctor.
Another common eye problem you may be at risk from is cataracts. This is caused by wear and tear to the lens covering and protecting the eye, it is not known what causes it but it is thought to just be normal aging of the eye and parts breaking down over time. Cataracts can be corrected with laser eye surgery.
Glaucoma is yet another one you have to watch out for. Glaucoma occurs when there is a build-up of fluid in the eye that can’t drain properly. This then puts pressure on the eye and leads to damage of the optic nerve causing issues with the sight. Glaucoma is most common if you are aged 70 – 80. It can be treated with laser treatment or surgery to relieve the pressure.
If you find yourself suffering from any of these problems or other eye conditions that affect the older eye then please visit an optician or your doctor as soon as possible so the issue can be identified and treated.
Just like the eyes, your ears can go through the same degenerative problems. Over time your hearing can fail due to several reasons, including loud noises, diseases, and natural aging. It is thought that over half of those aged 75 have some form of hearing loss, but this figure may be much higher due to people not coming forward with their problems. You may not want to admit to having problems with your hearing but they will only get worse the older you get.
It may be as simple as needing a hearing aid to enhance the sounds you are hearing. Why not make an appointment and see a hearing aid specialist. They can help you with testing your hearing, identifying the problem then they will help you choose which hearing aid is best for you should you need them. These will then be fitted so they are comfortable from the get-go and provide any aftercare you may need.
The problem with not admitting you have a problem with your hearing is nobody will know to communicate with you any differently. You will struggle to join in with conversations especially if those conversations have added background noises and sounds. You will need to lip read and if the other person or people aren’t aware that you can’t hear then they will not be enunciating enough for this to happen.
Struggling to keep up with conversations can lead to you feeling embarrassed, self conscious and eventually you may end up feeling isolated and depressed at the thought of not being able to socialise and have regular conversations with your friends and family.
You have heard of middle-aged spread. This is caused by your metabolism slowing right down as you get older. A slow metabolism is the reason calories don’t burn as quickly as they used to when you were younger. If you continually consume extra calories they will just stick around and turn to fat leading to weight gain.
When it comes to weight loss, one size really doesn’t fit all, it is very individual and one thing that works for others may not work for you. It is important to watch your diet and ensure you don’t feast on too many calorific, sugary, fatty foods too often.
You should also incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. This will help you to burn a few extra calories and strengthen your muscles and joints. Stronger joints will also help keep the effects of arthritis away for that little bit longer. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise, it can be yoga or simply going for a nice walk with friends.
As you age the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s increases. To keep this at bay or prevent symptoms from worsening be sure to eat a good source of fatty acids and omega 3. These are good for your brain as they aid in the reproduction of new brain cells. They can be found in the following foods; blueberries, salmon, nuts, and avocados to name just a few.
Brain exercise is just as important as the usual exercise. Keeping the mind active and exercising that grey matter will ward off the early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s. You can attempt crosswords or sudoku, anything that gets you thinking and problem solving. Saying that, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise four times a week can also fight these problems from setting in.
Avoid being isolated, it is thought that socializing with your friends can prevent cognitive decline. This is essential if you live alone, get out there, make new friends and meet existing ones. Maybe you should think about joining a club or starting a new hobby. A great activity if you enjoy it is gardening, a gardening club would provide the social aspect and the exercise side of it, it is also a good way to ensure you are getting out the house regularly.
We hope this helps you to notice potential health problems as you age and reassure you that you don’t have to suffer in silence.