Aging is a natural process, but it has unnatural causes. It represents the accumulation of changes in a human being over time, comprising physical, psychological and social changes.
The signs that indicate aging are evident in the changes people notice on their bodies and general lifestyles. Though these changes occur at their own pace, the genetic aging pattern is synonymous to one’s family tree, which plays a huge role in spurring these changes when the time arrives.
According to question-answer segment with people from 35-85 years (both in rural and urban parts of Nigeria), the signs of aging are uniformly spread and experienced by a good percentage of people. Though environment has minimal effects on aging, lifestyle patterns, activities and choices really influence it. These lifestyles may include your work and general opinion on healthy living. The signs of advancement in age are mostly evident on the outward appearance with visible clear changes on skin texture and formations.
Skin: The visible signs of aging on the skin happen on every layer of the skin. Researches carried out suggest that the first signs of aging start to become clear on the surface of the skin from the age of 25. Fine lines appear first, and over time wrinkles, a loss of volume and a loss of density become noticeable.
The human skin ages for a variety of different reasons and some of these reasons can be controlled to a certain degree. Aging causes change in every layer of the skin, affecting both its shape and the substances within it. Changes within the epidermal, dermal and sub-dermal layers of the skin show themselves on the surface as signs of aging.
Skin aging is quite natural but can also be caused by a variety of internal and external causes. The external causes mostly have to do with lifestyle choices which may include nutrition, smoking and also affording your skin little care. Other external causes can include sun light and pollution. Some of the internal causes of ageing skin especially facial skin are inevitable and cannot change.
The biological age determines the structural changes in the skin and the efficiency of the cell functions. These slow down over the years. Other internal causes can be due to poor blood supply to the skin and also body genetics. In order to minimize the effects of skin ageing, one must pay close attention to sun protection, nutrition, skin care and staying away from activities like smoking.
Hair: As hair pigment cells decline in number, gray hair growth increases. The hair also begins to grow thin on the scalp, and also on the non-pubic areas.
Hearing: with advancement in age come changes in hearing balances. Sounds of high frequencies become harder to hear. These changes appear to speed up as you get older.
Vision: At 40, most people begin to experience impaired vision as the natural lenses of the eye become gradually weakened. Ultimately the use of glasses to aid reading becomes inevitable. Also in the later years, glare increasingly interferes with vision making simple tasks like driving more unsafe.
Sleeping: With age also comes change in sleep patterns and flow and it varies in different people. While others find it hard to stay asleep deep for long periods others fall asleep at the slightest convenience.
Bones: The bones become less dense and strong. You can slow natural bone loss and reduce your risk of osteoporosis by exercising regularly, getting enough calcium and vitamin D, and avoid smoking.
Brain and nervous system: Studies show that as you age, the brain’s weight, size of its nerve network, and its blood flow decreases. Memory changes are common signs of ageing as you tend to forget things easily. You can help keep your brain sharp. Engage in regular social activity.
Heart and blood circulation: The heart will naturally become less efficient as one advance in age. You’ll notice a gradual decline in your energy or endurance as you age.
Also, there are changes in body metabolism and composition and also a decline in functionality of organs like the lungs and kidneys. Positive approach to healthy living is beneficial. Other signs include:
· Feeling stiff
· Groaning when you bend down
· Losing hair
· Getting more hairy – ears, eyebrows, nose, face etc
· Talking a lot about joints/ailments
· Forgetting people’s names
· Falling asleep in front of the TV
· Struggling to use technology
· You avoid lifting heavy things due to back concerns
· Misplacing your glasses/bag /keys, etc
· Putting everyday items in the wrong places etc.
How many of these signs apply to you? You may need to make positive adaptations to minimize these signs and keep basking in the euphoria of staying young forever.