Ageing is what every individual goes through every day. If possible, no one would love to grow old because old age comes with various challenges. Ageing cut across nations, tribes, communities, cultures and social statuses. A man must pass through the following – childhood age, youthful age and adulthood. Each stage comes with changes that must be managed properly. Although death might prevent some from reaching all the stages.
Factors that Causes Ageing:
Ageing is a natural process but some people age before the time due to certain factors. Most of these factors include:
Sickness: Sickness especially incurable ones lead to quick ageing.
Diet: The body needs all the six classes of food in their right proportion (carbohydrate, protein, fats and oil, mineral salt, vitamins and water). When this diet is not available, the body is prone to various deficiencies. This leads to ageing when it should not.
Stress: Stress has a way of making one age rapidly. When the body organs are stressed and overused beyond their limit, ageing sets in. Stress could be emotional, psychological or physical.
Occupation: This is what a person does to earn a living. Some jobs involve the use of the body organs and muscles. Jobs like bricklaying, woodcutting, carpentry, etc. Those who do such jobs have a tendency of ageing over time.
Lack of Exercise: Exercise helps to keep the body fit and flexible. Not exercising might cause ageing fast.
Changes that occur in the ageing process: Once ageing begins, the body cannot function as usual. Here are a few systems in the body and the changes that happen.
1. Skin: The skin’s elasticity reduces. The water regulations in the skin reduce thereby leading to dryness, wriggling and scaling of the skin. Healing of wound delays. Hairs on the skin begin to think. Skin pigmentation is lost. Nail colour changes. Eutrophication (decrease in the size) of the sweat glands. Hence, sweating may not really occur.
Remedy/Control: Attention should be given to the skin and nails. Enough intake of water. Avoid exposing the skin to excess sun and heat.
2. Gastrointestinal system: The saliva secretion reduces. Digestive juice reduces thereby reducing the digestive process. Taste bud’s functioning reduces thereby making detecting (bitter, sweet, sour, salty) difficult. Breitling of teeth. Falling of the teeth as a result of reabsorption of the tissues in the gum. There is a reduction in intestinal peristalsis and delayed nerve signal to defecate. Hence, defecation can take place unconsciously.
Control measures: Food taken should be low in fat and calories so that digestion can take place. High should be made in the consumption of fluids and fibres. Good should be eaten in small quantities. Care should be given by a dentist for dental problems.
3. Reproductive/Urinary System: The normal capacity of the bladder is up to Five hundred millimetres (500ml) but in the process of ageing, it reduces to Two hundred and fifty millimetres (250ml). This makes urinating frequent, especially at night. Sometimes, urinating also known as bladder emptying becomes difficult as the muscles are weakened. In women, the production of oestrogen hormones reduces. Dryness of the vagina and atrophy of the reproductive gland. In men, the prostate may enlarge and testosterone production reduces. Ageing (getting old) After sexual performance and response to advances. Although erection might be weak.
Control Measure: Water intake daily should be a maximum of two hundred millimetres (200ml). Lubricant can be used on the vagina to achieve a proper sexual response.
4. Muscosketal system:: This system provides support, stability, and flexibility to the body. It is made up of bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints, etc. When old age comes, the component of the musculoskeletal system becomes weak and stiffen. The joints lose their flexibility leading to stiffening. The bones go into mineral deficiency (calcium) – demineralization which causes pains.
Control Measure: Calcium-rich food should be taken as well as a calcium supplement as such remineralise the bone. Weight control should be maintained so that the bone can carry the weight. Exercise should be done to maintain flexibility. Movement aids should be provided where necessary. Vitamin D and protein-rich food should be taken.
5. Cardiopulmonary system: It consists of the heart, lungs, trachea, blood vessels, bronchi, etc. The function of this system is to transport oxygen to the body and expel carbon dioxide. They supply oxygen to the skeletal muscle which aids movement.
Conclusion: Ageing is inevitable, therefore adequate preparation should be made for it. We should watch the food we eat because it can make ageing painful. Enough exercise should be done to enhance the smooth transition.