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Normal aging: what to expect as you get older

From lapses in memory to joint pain and hair loss, a wide range of symptoms are often chalked up to getting old. But which changes are really con­sidered a normal part of the aging process? Here’s some of what you can expect as you get older.

A different experience for everyone

Aging is a complex process that affects every system in the body. But while all people age, not everyone does so at the same rate. This means that people of the same age can look and feel very different as they get ol­der. In other words, their chronological ages are identical, but their biological ages don’t match.

Noticeable signs of normal aging

It’s important to note that normal age-related changes happen gradually and aren’t the result of an underlying medical condition. Nevertheless, aging does eventually have noticeable effects on the body, including:

  • Weakened vision (presbyopia)
  • Gradual loss of hearing (presbycusis)
  • Slight decrease in memory and learning skills
  • Loss of muscular endurance and strength
  • Diminished sensations such as hunger and thirst
  • Increase in percentage of body fat

Tips for healthy aging

The best way to delay the effects of aging is to maintain healthy lifestyle ha­bits. Among other things, you should avoid smoking, limit your alcohol con­sumption, exercise daily, get enough sleep, keep in touch with loved ones and challenge your mind with puzzles, reading and strategy games.

Finally, be sure to schedule regular appointments with your family doctor, optometrist, audiologist and other health-care professionals. This increa­ses the likelihood of medical issues being detected and treated early.