The Process of Ageing

Process of ageing
Process of ageing

Advances in science have not made a considerable difference to our overall lifespan. However, such progress has made a considerable difference to the lives of people getting older in good health.

The Reason Why We Age

Aging happens due to the cumulative damage done to the body’s cells.

Protein fibres that maintain the elasticity of your artery walls and skin alter, resulting in their being less flexible. In the end our body’s cell energy production network ceases to function.

Oxidisation takes place due to the impact free radicals have, ensuring we age.

What Impact Do Genes Have

Genes do play a role in longevity. Genes impact the way in which the body looks after and repairs cells.

Alzheimer’s disease, for instance, is considered to be genetic.

Lifestyle Impacts Aging

The process of aging is not purely genetic.

We have some control as to aging, especially when it comes to exercise and diet. It is important to partake in at least 20 minutes of exercise a day as it helps us to keep our cardio vascular system healthy. It also brings about a feel good factor as it boosts brain activity and enhances decision making skills.

Diet is of course very important too. If we eat too much food full of saturated fats, we don’t help our body’s defence system. We boost our body’s defence system by eating foods high in oxidants like fruit and vegetables.

The Aging Process Does Not Affect Us all in the Same Way

None of us of course escapes from the aging process.

Some people are together mentally until they are 100, yet other people have dementia when aged 50 plus. Some of us are mobile until we drop, whilst those of us who are, for example, arthritic, have more difficulty doing so.

Health Assessment for the Over 50s

The majority of GP surgeries run various preventative medicine clinics. They assess older people’s general health and also advise you about diseases at this time of life as well as how to prevent getting such diseases.

Such checks include:

  • Measurement of weight
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) measurement
  • Blood pressure
  • Eye tests to check for hypertension, glaucoma or diabetes
  • Blood cholesterol level tests
  • Electrocardiograms (ECGs) to check the risk of heart disease
  • Blood sugar, urine tests, liver and kidney tests to check for diabetes
  • Examinations of the breast
  • Cervical smears to look for any sign of any cancerous cells
  • Ovarian cyst checks
  • Prostate tests
  • Testicular checks
  • DEXA scans which assess risk of osteoporosis

Hospital Visit

Should your GP wish to refer you for a set test or check, you need to consider which hospitalyou would prefer.

NHS Choices contains info regarding different hospitals online. Your surgery or specialist will be able to provide you with the information you need.

Social security benefits may be affected should you be hospitalised for a month or more. You need to contact your local benefit office for details.

When You Come out of Hospital

The older we get, the less we are able to cope with illness and it takes longer to recover from even straightforward surgery.

Should you be able to, consider:

  • The kind of support you need when discharged and make arrangements for help with cleaning, cooking and shopping
  • Clean the house before your admittance and leave pre-made food in the freezer or fridge
  • Should you need longer off work than expected, give yourself time to recover
  • Should you not be able to drive for a period of time, arrange for a friend to give you a hand, or use cabs or buses for a while
  • Should it be difficult to get upstairs upon returning home post-surgery, consider the possibility of having a bed downstairs

Concerns over Treatment

Should you have any apprehension about treatment, you can discuss the matter with your GP or the hospital where you received your treatment.

You are also able to contact the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service.

The Patients Association gives advice about your rights, availability of health services, how to complain as well as self-help groups