There are many benefits to growing old, which is wonderful, since no human being on earth has a say in the matter. The reality of retirement for instance, and suddenly having time to do what you want to do can be an extraordinarily positive step towards personal happiness. What often hampers these well-earned days, however, is the development of age-related health problems. Without proper understanding early on in life and acting on this knowledge, these challenges can transform old age into a time of suffering.
As individuals mature, they experience often drastic changes in their bodies. Many of these changes concern bone and joint areas. Made of protective cartilage, which separates bones and stops them from rubbing together, joints grow worn over time. While the level of wear varies significantly by person, mild to extreme pain in these locations is commonplace. Disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis affect cartilage by breaking them down until inflammation occurs. With painful stiffness and joint swelling, Rheumatoid Arthritis can severely limit simple tasks such as walking.
With many other degenerative disabilities such as structure loss in joint areas like hips and knees, as well as decreases in flexibility due to tendon and ligament alterations it is important for older generations to do what they can in the way of limiting the negative effects. Stretching is a simple way to avoid complications as well as physical activity.
Mobility is a major issue among aged generations. As people progress in years bone mass recedes. Women are especially susceptible after menopause, as bones will continually lose minerals such as calcium. Areas like the spine take the brunt of these losses in essential minerals, thereby making mobility a challenge. Not only do spinal vertebrae lose calcium, but the gel-like disks which separate them further dilute mobility as their fluids slowly drain over time. One thinned, they begin to grind, causing painful bone spurs.
Other areas of mobility are affected on the body. Arches in the foot become less prominent, which alters normal gaits. The arms and legs see changes as the long bones within them become brittle and fragile. Because their length is not altered, unlike the shortening spine, unnatural posture occurs, like bent backs and flexed knees and hips. These symptoms adversely impact maneuverability.
Changes in strength and endurance also take place. Muscle mass shrinks, taking strength with it. Endurance, however, may actually increase because of new muscle fiber compositions. Older athletes with healthy cardiovascular systems may find that performance jumps somewhat with activities that necessitate endurance.
While sexual activity does not have to withdraw entirely, there are significant transformations that typically accompany old age. A multitude of factors work to strip sexual desire from aging populations, from medications, depression, illness, financial stress, to marriage difficulties. One of the leading causes of decreases libido, though, is testosterone levels.
Generally, it is assumed that only men contain testosterone-and in abundance. This is false. Not only do women have the hormone, but it plays a major role in the sustainment of their sex drive. In fact, if a man or women sustained a significant drop in testosterone, both libidos would suffer.
Treatments are available for both sexes which may assist in rejuvenating hormone levels and sexual accelerators. There are a number of options for men in particular, like topical gels. These prescription medications work by passing the hormone into the bloodstream via the skin. Patches and injections may also be used. Still, these treatments and their successes are directly tied to various, complicated lifestyle choices and biological factors. It is also important that proper diagnoses are made for any sexual disorders. Depression and other mental anomalies have similar symptoms and must be treated individually.
Digestive disorders also increase with age. Though problems may occur at any point in life, nearly 40% of ageing adults have one or several digestive symptoms every year.
One of the most common maladies associated with old age is constipation. In men and women who have reached their 60’s and 70’s this problem is especially prevalent. Symptoms including difficult or painful bowel movements and dry stool are brought on by a multitude of factors.
An overabundance of medicinal use will also cause untold digestive difficulties. Many of the more common medications taken by older people include constipation as a side effect. Calcium channel blockers are an excellent example. While exceptionally useful for fighting high blood pressure, they regularly induce constipation. Night time pain relievers are another culprit. Surgery patients are often given narcotics to help offset the pain of recovery. These narcotics, meanwhile, directly affect the bowel system.
Inactivity and a lack of fluid intake also play havoc on aging digestive systems. Less activity leads to constipation. Excessive bed rest is a major inducer of digestive problems. Meanwhile, drinking plenty of fluids helps keep digestive tracts working properly. Individuals taking diuretics must be particularly wary of their intake levels.
Sleep is another major area that changes with age. By 65 years in age, more than half of older populations experience one form of sleep malady. Insomnia is very common among these generations. Patterns of sleep alter over time. In later stages of life, people will sleep for less amounts of time, and what sleep they do experience is inconsistent. The deep sleep of stages 3 and 4, as well as REM sleep, are achieved less frequently. Stressors like medicinal side effects, depression, and even the downtime of retirement play a huge role in these irregular sleep patterns. Despite the difficulties, a night of restorative rest is essential to living a healthy life, no matter what the age may be.
Regardless of the challenges that will undoubtedly arise from living a long, full life, old age does not have to be a negative experience. A proper diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will restore vitality. Staying hydrated will clear up many conditions. Being physically and mentally active will keep the body and mind sharp. Indeed, with a proper attitude and some key actions, people can experience just as much, if not more, fulfillment in their later years as they did in their youth.