Digestive System – How Healthy Aging Affects Your Metabolism

Feel that rumbling sound in your stomach? It might be hunger or it might be the first indication that you need to start eating clean. Here’s something you probably know but never thought about: as you age, every part of your body—brain, heart, bones, and digestive system— gets affected.

Your body functions start to slow down and your digestive tract stops working as efficiently as it once used to. This is because the small intestine and large intestine’s muscles get weaker and stiffer. The tissues get damaged and cell formation is slow, which causes a number of problems. These include:

  • Fecal incontinence
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Gas
  • Diverticulitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Amongst these, the one problem that most seniors experience as they go past 65 is GERD. This causes problems between the stomach and esophagus, which causes acid indigestion and heartburn.

Aging and Digestion

Gastroparesis

People who suffer from diabetes usually have problems with their bowel movements. When this problem escalates, it affects the digestive tract and causes Gastroparesis. This disease delays the time taken by the stomach to clear out its contents, which causes nausea and bloating.

Artery Blockage

When blood to the digestive tract decreases, the bowel movement gets affected and causes severe cramps.

Hypertension and Arthritis

Both these diseases require high doses of medication that can cause problems in the digestive tract.

Preserving Digestive Health

Chew Food Slowly and Properly

The enzyme amylase in our mouth is what breaks down food for easy digestion. As you age, the production of amylase decreases, which is why it necessary to chew your food slowly.

Eat Smaller Meals

Increasing age can cause a loss of appetite. Since your stomach’s elasticity is no longer the same as it used to be and the speed of digestion decreases, it’s better to eat smaller meals. Eat as often as you want but make sure the meals are not that heavy and are more nutritious.

Keep Up With the Fluid Intake

Peristalsis is known as muscle contractions that push food along your digestive tract. When you get older, these muscles weaken and the process slows down. This causes the food to sit longer in your colon, which results in constipation. By staying well hydrated, the stool softens and passes more easily from your digestive tract.

Monitor Your Lactose Production

In seniors, when the production of the enzyme lactase decreases, they start experiencing stomach cramps. In some cases, they even experience diarrhea. This is why it is important to get yourself checked early to find out if you are lactose intolerant. Lack of milk, the most important source of calcium, can have devastating effects on the body. So, make sure that your diet is balanced to avoid any digestion problems.

If you are not following a healthy diet or for some reason are not able to, the amount of healthy bacteria in your body decreases. This is why doctors recommend doing a course of probiotics to relieve your body of all the toxins and bring it back to a healthy state.

Brain Slowing – How Healthy Aging Affects Your Processing Function

Our brain is the most fascinating part of the body. It controls many aspects, such as the thinking process, remembering, organizing, planning and making decisions. These cognitive abilities are what affect our everyday life and how we perform in every task. As you age, the capabilities of the brain start to diminish, and when you turn 65, these cognitive abilities make it difficult for you to live independently.

A few common changes that take place in your brain as you age include:

  • Increased difficulty in recalling names and finding words
  • Problems with multi-tasking
  • Forgetfulness
  • Focusing hard to understand what the other person is talking about
  • Unable to pay attention to certain things

While aging makes you worldlier, it does take a toll on your physical and mental health.

The Healthy, Older Brain

So, what happens to your brain as you age?

  • Certain parts of your brain start to shrink, especially those that are connected to learning and performing complex mental activities
  • Certain neurons stop communicating in the brain, which is what creates sluggish mental movements
  • The blood flow in your brain decreases
  • Inflammation occurs— a reaction caused by a disease or an injury

As compared to how adults function, a person aged above 65 processes things much more slowly. For example: a task of putting together a complex puzzle might be done by an adult in half hour, but someone older will take twice the time to complete the same challenge.

Healthy Aging Checklist

The key to keeping your brain healthy as you age is to prioritize the things that affect your mental motor in the first place. You need to constantly oil the bolts and make sure the wires are working properly. Alright, enough with the metaphors… let’s get down to business.

Following are a few ways to keep your brain healthy as you age:

Avoid Taking Brain-Slowing Medication

Certain medicines diminish your brain function and are even linked to having a high risk of Alzheimer’s. These medicines are usually for common health problems such as over-active bladder, anxiety, insomnia, allergies and vertigo. It is better to try different treatments and cognitive behavioral therapies to find relief. Medications that you should avoid include benzodiazepines, Z-drugs, anticholinergics, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics.

Avoid Sleep Deprivation

If your brain and body are not well rested, you will find it extremely difficult to function in any task. Sleep deprivation causes irritable mood and can even lead to insomnia. This causes a never ending cycle of anxiety, depression and physical health problems. Using sedatives to calm down your brain in order to induce sleep is what diminishes the quality of your brain.

Engage in Activities

The more social you are, the more active you will be! This gives you a deep sense of purpose and shows you that you still matter and are not alone. Ultimately, spending time with people with whom you are happy prevents cognitive decline.

Stay Physically Active

Exercise helps treats anxiety and depression. It gets your body pumping and keeps you energized throughout the day. So, pick out your favorite activity and do it on the weekends. It sure will be better than running on a treadmill in the gym!

So, there you go… four perfectly good reasons how certain things in your life are pushing you down mentally. The best way to take care of yourself as you age is by doing the same things that you did as an adult.

Preserving Your Heart – How Healthy Aging Affects Your Ticker

Has you ticker been lately creating some trouble for you? It’s time to take it easy on those beer bottles and frozen dinners. The things you enjoy the most might be causing a lot of trouble for your heart, which you will experience as you age.

So, attention to-be senior citizens! You better start making some changes in your lifestyle. Otherwise, you might not age gracefully.

So, how does aging affect your heart health?

When you reach the age of 65, your heart beats slower. If you try to do any strenuous activity that your personal strength cannot keep up with, it takes a toll on your heart muscles. Perhaps the two most harmful factors that destroy your heart health beyond repair are weight gain and diabetes.

These cause fatty deposits and plaque buildup that block the arteries. This prevents the heart from pumping blood efficiently to the heart and other parts of the body, which causes a stroke.

Effect of Changes

  • Emotional stress
  • Certain medicines
  • Physical exertion
  • Injuries
  • Illness
  • Infections

Common Aging Problems

  • Arrhythmias: abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Angina:when flow of blood to the heart experiences a decrease, chest pain and shortness of breath is felt, which may be an indication of heart disease.
  • Anemia:might be caused due to chronic infections, malnutrition and blood loss from complications involving the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Arteriosclerosis: when fatty plaque gets deposited in the blood vessels, the arteries harden and narrow down the channel, eventually blocking it.

While exercise and regular heart checkups can keep you on track, you still need to monitor a many things in your lifestyle that might lead to heart issues as you age.

Following are a few tips to maintaining your heart health as you reach your late 50s:

Stay Active

Exercise allows you to manage your blood pressure, weight, stress and heart performance. An exercise routine will help your heart to effectively pump oxygen rich blood to other parts of the body, which will prevent any kind of stiffness or organs from failing.

Eat Healthy

It goes without saying that if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you adopt a balanced diet. Avoid Trans fats, as well as refined sugar. Limit the amount of saturated fats you take in and start counting your carbs. Include the following four food items in your diet:

  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Salmon
  • Berries

Eating healthy will not just keep you fit internally as you age but it will also show on your skin. The less fatty food you eat, the less fatty buildup your heart will have.

Stop Smoking

Smoking is what causes atherosclerosis, a heart condition that we explained earlier on in this article. As you age, not only does tobacco affect your lungs but your heart too. The chemical in tobacco attack your blood cells and stop them from doing their function. This causes inflammation, which then forces the artery channel to narrow down, thus causing severe problems that eventually lead to death.

The number one factor that can keep your ticker running is exercise. Its importance cannot be stressed enough! If you are already a patient of musculoskeletal problems, then you need a different exercise regime, one doctored by a specialist.

So, before you reach the point where you can no longer take a long walk because your lungs start feeling heavy and your heart barely pumps its rhythm, better get on the plan of changing your diet. Take it easy on the alcohol and diet coke.

Healthy Aging: What it Means for your Bones

There are certain things about aging gracefully that everyone can love; finally using your savings to do what you love, retirement and grandkids. However, one thing that seniors don’t love is osteoporosis. Weak and fragile bones, using a cane or walker for walking and constantly monitoring what you eat can restrict you in old age.

According to a study, published in the Journal of Dental Research, the risk of developing weak bones increases 10-fold as people age. This also increases the risk of fractures.

So, how does one arrive at the stage of developing weak bones?

Three things that contribute to this include lack of exercise, unhealthy diet and low supply of calcium.

There are 4 ways in which bones are affected:

  • Osteoarthritis:the cartilage holding the joints together breaks, which causes stiffness and pain.
  • Osteomalacia:the bones get soft because of problems with metabolism and lack of Vitamin D.
  • Osteoporosis:the bones become brittle and lose mass, which causes more fractures.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis:the joints become inflamed.

Science and technology has made it possible for scientists to come with different treatments such as stem cell therapies, orthiobiologics and bioidentical hormone replacement. While these do help with joint and bone injuries, you need to focus on developing their strength at an early age.

Following are some tips that will help you achieve joint and bone health:

Keep an Eye on Your Weight

Around 29% of children in America are overweight. Excess weight causes hormonal imbalances, tension, stress and most harmful of all, deficiencies. The last factor affects musculoskeletal health and bone growth. This is what causes limited mobility in the future, which leads to diminished life quality.

When bones don’t grow with the strength they are supposed to, injuries become frequent. The healing process is slower, which causes the fracture and break to settle in. As you age, the pain and ache increases, and later becomes permanent.

Eat a Diet That’s High in Calcium

One word: milk!

Excess alcohol and caffeine consumption can lead to overall health deterioration. Why not switch these drinks with water and most important of all, it’s time you paid attention to the nutritional facts of the food you are eating. Eat a diet rich in calcium, which include foods such as yogurt, cheese, lentils, almonds, sardines, canned salmon and more.

Exercise

Just do it.

Have you ever looked at those Nike and Adidas ads and wished that you had the same strength? Vitamin D, calcium and exercise are the three foundations of bone health. Moderation is the name of the game, so try not to overdo it. Start with some stretches and power walking, proceed to a run and do take out some time to try yoga.

If you are not much of an exercise fan, then do those activities you love like swimming, playing badminton or dancing.

Now that you know how your bones will develop when you grow older, you need to give your lifestyle a second look. It’s time to make some important and big changes to make your life easy as you age.