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8 Effects Of Ageing On The Body

By Shabana

No matter how scientifically advanced our human society becomes, it can never change the way a human body ages. All of us want to stay young forever and retain our younger looking self, right?

Though we have learnt about the ageing process of our body in our science classes, do you know what exactly happens during ageing, especially to different parts and organs of our body?

Over time, our organs experience fatigue and slow down in functioning. This causes a lot of changes in the body, which happens gradually. Our cognitive functioning declines and so does our ability to see and hear.

The most noticeable change happens to our skin and hair. Our hair starts losing its thickness and turns grey. Our skin too loses its elasticity and wrinkles are formed.

Here, we will tell you about the various changes that our organ systems go through during the ageing process. Take a look.


1. Effects On The Brain

Our brain is the most important part of our body. It works tirelessly throughout our lifetime, processing tons and tons of information. Our brain is made up of millions of tiny neurons, which are important for storing and processing information.

Over time, the number of neurons decreases, leading to decline in cognitive functions like memory loss and Alzheimer's. Also, the older we get, the more chances we have of suffering from a condition called "Silent Stroke" which is the result of a brain abnormality.


2. Effects On Our Skeletal Systems

Human bones are known to be a very strong and hard substance and they are mostly made up of calcium. But these bones too have an expiry date. Our every day physical activities put a lot of pressure on the bones and they eventually lose calcium and become brittle.

This leads to a host of conditions like arthritis, a condition of painful joints, or osteoporosis, where the bones become too brittle that even a small fall may lead to fractures. As we age, our reflexes too slow down.


3. Effects On Our Nervous System

Apart from the brain, the other important part of the nervous system is the spinal cord. Our spinal cord contains disks between the bones, which becomes hard and brittle due to age. This leads to decrease in cushioning capacity, putting more pressure on the back bones.

This condition is very painful and may lead to pain even with a little movement. The pain sometimes leads to loss of neurons, which detach themselves from the spine and result in decrease of balance. The peripheral nerves which are responsible for connecting the spinal cord with the brain too degrade, which leads to slow reflexes.


4. Effects On Our Digestive System

Though all of us love to eat, we need to constantly change our diet to meet the demands of our body. Our stomach is constantly working to digest everything we eat. But over time, digestive juices and the rate of digestion reduce. This results in other issues such as indigestion, gas or bloating.

Constipation too becomes a common problem for elderly, as the colons slowly lose their normal functioning and makes it difficult for the food to pass through it. This may also lead to abnormal growth in the colons known as polyps.


5. Effect Of Ageing On Our Kidneys

We often see elder people suffering from kidney problems. That's because the functions of our kidney start to decline after the age of 35.Our kidneys basically have two important functions - to filter waste products and to create a balance of acids and bases in the body.

Due to hectic lifestyle and wrong diet, our kidneys are put through immense pressure to perform. They eventually start declining in functioning, causing immense problems to the elderly. The ailments which are very common among the aged are kidney stones, which happens due to lack of fluid intake and the other being kidney failure.


6. Effects On Our Reproductive Organs

Ageing has a slightly different effect on men and women. Our reproductive system is generally governed through the secretion of hormones, which reduce over time. While women go through menopause between 45 and 55, men experience decrease in their sex drive, as the level of testosterone in the body decreases. Other problems include decline in the production of semen and also frequent erectile dysfunctions. Due to menopause, women experience hot flashes too.


7. Effects On Sense Organs

Our senses such as the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and even skin also go through the process of ageing. With time, our eyes and ears may become weak, therefore glasses and hearing aids become our best bets to survive. Dry eyes and cataract are among common eye problems the elderly suffer from.

The muscles of the eyes go through the process of degeneration which can cause blurring vision. The skin losses its elasticity and along with years of gravitational pull, the skin starts sagging and giving way to wrinkles.


8. Effects On The Respiratory System

Our lungs form the major part of our respiratory system. As they are mostly made of up muscles, they too are subject to degeneration. Over time, the air holding capacity of the lungs decreases, resulting in short breaths and breathlessness. Old people are more prone to lung diseases, which may be severe if they have a history of smoking.

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Story first published: Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 13:00 [IST]
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