How does the aging process affect the body? If you're worried about it, don't be. It beats the alternative, and it happens to everybody. The aging process happens at various speeds depending on things like your ancestry and your environment. The aging process happens on the inside of your body as well as the outside.
The aging process affects your body on the inside through the cells .It's estimated that we have 50 trillion cells in our body; that's incomprehensible to many people. Cells have been called the "building blocks of life," and, if they aren't working properly, it has an adverse affect. An important process called apoptosis tells the cells when to self-destruct. If the cells don't die when they are supposed to, cancer can result because the cancer cells will crowd out the healthy ones. If the cells die too early, that might result in both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
There are several effects that the aging process has on the outside of your body. As you age, you may see a change in your height. You will probably lose about two inches by the time you are 80, although it can vary greatly from person to person. Some causes of height loss include flattening of the arches in your feet, changes in the vertebrae and compression of the discs between the vertebrae. Even poor posture can cause you to be shorter.
Another way that the aging process may affect the body is you'll probably lose some weight. If you're a man, you'll probably gain weight until you reach your fifties, and then you'll start losing weight when you reach your late sixties and early seventies. You will also notice a change in the amount of fat you have in your body compared to muscle. Researchers aren't really sure if these changes in weight are really part of the aging process, or if it happens because you are less active and you might not be eating a good diet.
Your bones are another part of the body that are affected by the aging process. Your bones become more brittle with age because of loss of calcium. If you're not careful, this can result in a lot of broken bones. If you break something major, like one of your hips, that will have an affect on your mobility and independence.
Don't worry if lots of the people in your family died at a young age. The science of medicine has made great strides in recent years. Life expectancy is gradually creeping up in the United States, and you can expect to live into your late seventies. That's why economists are worried about the financial aspects of the aging population. As you live longer, you'll be collecting Social Security and Medicare for a longer period of time. When 65 was determined to be the age when you can collect Medicare, most people didn't live many years beyond 65. That's not the case anymore. Lots of people live to be in their 80's or beyond.
Now you know how the aging process affects the body. The changes are so gradual that you may not even notice. If things don't seem right, you may want to contact your health care professional who can determine just how much the aging process has affected you.
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