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Ageing gracefully - Part I

Ageing: Introduction:

Aging is defined as the sequential or progressive change in an organism that leads to an increased risk of debility, disease, and death. Senescence consists of these manifestations of the aging process.
Aging gracefully' People may use this phrase to mean, 'looking old, but embracing it' or 'showing signs of aging, but still powering forward with life'.
Causes of aging :
Some aging is caused by the body, such growth spurts children go through during puberty. Aging can also be accumulative, such as the onset of skin damage due to excessive sun exposure. Aging is ultimately a combination of physiological changes in our bodies and the environmental factors we are exposed to.In humans, ageing represents the accumulation of changes in a human being over time and can encompass physical, psychological, and social changes. Reaction time, for example, may slow with age, while memories and general knowledge typically increase.
An individual resident who is 60 years or above in age but less than 80 years at any time during the previous year is considered as Senior Citizen for Income Tax purposes in India. A Super Senior Citizen is an individual resident who is 80 years or above, at any time during the previous year.
Aging is a gradual, continuous process of natural change that begins in early adulthood. During early middle age, many bodily functions begin to gradually decline. People do not become old or elderly at any specific age.Please note that traditionally, age 65 has been designated as the beginning of old age.

Experts generally break down the ageing process into five stages:
Stage 1: Independence.
Stage 2: Interdependence.
Stage 3: Dependency.
Stage 4: Crisis Management.
Stage 5: End of Life.

The normal aging process:
Research suggests that the combination of good nutrition, physical activity, and mental and social engagement may help you, your heart and your brain stay healthy. Some changes in the ability to think are considered a normal part of the aging process.

Factors affects the aging process: The most notable exogenous factors influencing degree of aging were sun exposure and smoking. Other possibly contributory lifestyle factors include alcohol consumption, stress, diet, lack of exercise, disease, and medication.

The normal aging process:
For example, with advanced age, a mild decline in mental function is nearly universal and is considered normal aging. This decline includes increased difficulty learning new things such as languages, decreased attention span, and increased forgetfulness. In contrast, the decline that occurs in dementia.

The four aging types:
Just because an individual falls into one or more of the four ageotypes that is metabolic, immune, hepatic and nephrotic types. It doesn't mean that they're not also aging alongthe other biological pathways, Snyder said. The ageotype signifies the pathways in which increases in aging biomarkers are most pronounced.

Four physical aspects of aging: With age, bones tend to shrink in size and density, weakening them and making them more susceptible to fracture. You might even become a bit shorter. Muscles generally lose strength, endurance and flexibility , factors that can affect your coordination, stability and balance.
After age 30, an average of 1% of this reserve is lost each year. The biggest changes in organ reserve occur in the heart, lungs, and kidneys. The amount of reserve lost varies between people and between different organs in a single person.

Body systems that are affected by aging:
These organs include
the heart and blood vessels,
the urinary organs such as the kidneys, and the brain.
Bones and Joints.
Muscles and Body Fat.
Mouth and Nose.
Digestive System.
Urinary Tract.

As you age, your brain and nervous system go through natural changes. Your brain and spinal cord lose nerve cells and weight. This process is known as' atrophy'. Nerve cells may begin to pass messages more slowly than in the past. Waste products or other chemicals such as beta amyloid can collect in the brain tissue as nerve cells break down.

The type of change in body systems is associated with the physiological process of aging:
Physiological changes occur with aging in all organ systems. The cardiac output decreases, blood pressure increases and arteriosclerosis develops. The lungs show impaired gas exchange, a decrease in vital capacity and slower expiratory flow rates.

11 ways to reduce premature skin aging
The sun plays a major role in prematurely aging our skin. Other things that we do also can age our skin more quickly than it naturally would. To help their patients prevent premature skin aging, dermatologists offer their patients the following tips.

Protect your skin from the sun light every day. Whether spending a day at the beach or running errands, sun protection is essential. You can protect your skin by seeking shade, covering up with sun-protective clothing such as a lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection and using sunscreen that is broad spectrum, SPF 30 or higher, and water-resistant. You should apply sunscreen every day to all skin that is not covered by clothing. For more effective protection, look for clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) label.
Apply self-tanner rather than get a tan. Every time you get a tan, you prematurely age your skin. This holds true if you get a tan from the sun, a tanning bed, or other indoor tanning equipment. All emit harmful UV rays that accelerate how quickly your skin ages.

If you smoke, stop. Smoking greatly speeds up how quickly skin ages. It causes wrinkles and a dull, sallow complexion.
Avoid repetitive facial expressions. When you make a facial expression, you contract the underlying muscles. If you repeatedly contract the same muscles for many years, these lines become permanent. Wearing sunglasses can help reduce lines caused by squinting.

Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Findings from a few studies suggest that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent damage that leads to premature skin aging. Findings from research studies also suggest that a diet containing lots of sugar or other refined carbs can accelerate aging.

Drink less alcohol. Alcohol is rough on the skin. It dehydrates the skin, and in time, damages the skin. This can make us look older.

Exercise most days of the week. Findings from a few studies suggest that moderate exercise can improve circulation and boost the immune system. This, in turn, may give the skin a more-youthful appearance.

Cleanse your skin gently. Scrubbing your skin clean can irritate your skin. Irritating your skin accelerates skin aging. Gentle washing helps to remove pollution, makeup, and other substances without irritating your skin.

Wash your face twice a day and after sweating heavily. Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, irritates the skin, so you want to wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.

Apply a facial moisturizer every day. Moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more youthful appearance.

Stop using skin care products that sting or burn. When your skin burns or stings, it means your skin is irritated. Irritating your skin can make it look older.

The Five Most Powerful Anti-Aging Fruits and Vegetables:
Cruciferous Greens.
Instead of wasting money on anti-aging creams and serums, turn back the clock by boosting your diet. These five fruits and vegetables will not only rejuvenate your complexion, but also promote overall wellness.

Information compiled by: Dr Bhairavsinh Raol