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4 of 4: The signs of aging, a four-part series

4 of 4: The signs of aging, a four-part series

Over the past week, we here at Freedom Home Care have been looking at the National Institute of Health’s “Eight Areas of Age-Related Change.” And we’ve been quite captivated by the list because we believe that being aware of the physical changes that our bodies undergo later in life is the best way to combat old age today. So as we post these last two topics, we’d like to thank the NIH for arming us with the knowledge that will help us better enjoy our twilight years.

7. Skin

“The simplest and cheapest way to keep your skin healthy and young looking is to stay out of the sun,” the NIH says. “Sunlight is a major cause of the skin changes we think of as aging — changes such as wrinkles, dryness, and age spots. Your skin does change with age. For example, you sweat less, leading to increased dryness. As your skin ages, it becomes thinner and loses fat, so it looks less plump and smooth.”

More serious skin issues, such as skin cancer, have a tendency to appear later in life, as well. In fact, 40 to 50 percent of Americans over the age of 65 have probably had skin cancer at least once. Basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas are both common forms of skin cancer, however, melanoma is the most dangerous of all skin cancers.

Takeaway: Quit smoking. If not for the dramatic health benefits like reducing your chance for getting cancer,

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do it for your skin. It is a well-known fact that smokers tend to develop more wrinkles than nonsmokers. Among a host of other damaging side effects, smoking can break down elastin proteins, which will result in an increased amount of wrinkles.  

8. Functional Abilities

“As we age, falls become an increasingly common reason for injuries,” NIH explains. “Just ask any of the thousands of older men and women who fall each year and break a bone. Falls can come as a result of other changes in the body: Sight, hearing, muscle strength, coordination, and reflexes aren't what they once were as we age. Balance can be affected by diabetes and heart disease, or by problems with your circulation or nervous system. Some medicines can cause dizziness. Any of these things can make a fall more likely.”

Takeaway: By giving your body the attention it deserves, individuals can lower their chances of falling. Adopting a healthy lifestyle will lead to overall physical well-being, and if you’re unsure where to begin, take another look at the NIH’s eight areas of age-related change. It’s never too late to start.

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