What’s Normal When It Comes to Aging (and What’s Not)

November 7, 2020

The first step toward protecting your health is to know the physical and mental changes that occur as a result of aging. For peace of mind protect yourself with health coverage, compare Medicare Supplement plans. Below are some of the common changes you can expect in your body:


Bones become more brittle and thinner as you age because they lose their density, mass, and this can sometimes result in osteoporosis. There is an increased risk of broken bones when someone has low bone mass, and this includes the bones in the spine, which can result in loss of height because of stooped posture. While osteoporosis and low bone mass are more common in women, men can also be affected. It is a good idea to talk to a physician to help you learn more about osteoporosis and what you can do to avoid it. The first sign of this condition is a broken bone.


With age, the large arteries become stiffer. This condition is known as arteriosclerosis, and it has been shown to contribute to high blood pressure. Fatty deposits called plaques starts accumulating on the walls of the arteries, which narrows and hardens the arteries, and this reduces the flow of blood to the heart. Atherosclerosis is the process of fatty deposits building on the walls of the arteries. When plaque builds up on the wall of the arteries leading to the heart it is known as coronary artery disease. This is a major risk factor for heart attacks. While you cannot control all the blood vessels and heart changes happening as a result of aging, you can keep your heart and arteries healthier for longer by getting regular physical activity and following a healthy diet.


According to the CDC, it is common for people to start being slightly more forgetful as they age, and the process of multitasking or processing new information slows down too. It is not normal when the memory problems and confusion go beyond the normal. If this is the case, it is important to visit a medical professional to see whether there is any problem. Such symptoms are early signs of dementia or a treatable condition. 

Digestive System

The digestive tract will slow down and it is not going to contract as often as you age, which can result in stomach pain, constipation, and feelings of nausea. Some medications can contribute to or even cause constipation. Following a diet rich in fiber, keeping active, and drinking plenty of fluids will help in preventing these digestive problems.


Your five senses – vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch – are not going to be as sharp as they used to be when you were younger. Hearing of loss is caused by the changes within the structure of your ear. This is also the cause of loss of balance. The vision can get worse because it dulls, and you might be forced to wear reading glasses. The number of taste buds is going to reduce, and this will cause you to start losing your sense of taste.  This means flavors are not going to be that distinct. There is a reduction in the amount of mucus produces and loss of nerve endings, weakening your sense of smell. Another thing you may notice is reduced sensitivity to pain, touch, vibration, and pressure – some people become more sensitive to touch because of thinning skin.

Teeth and Gums

The tough enamel protecting your teeth wears away over the years, and this means your teeth don’t have adequate protection. This increases the risks of cavities. According to the American Dentist Association, the nerves in your teeth are going to become smaller as you age, which makes your teeth less sensitive to pain. This will make it harder to diagnose cracks or cavities on the outer surface of our teeth. There was also a study published showing that more than 50% of people aged 65 and over had moderate or severe gum diseases. The study also found out that about 400 most commonly used medication had dry mouth as one of the side effects. This increases the risks of oral diseases.


The skin is going to lose elasticity with age, and it can start sagging and wrinkling. When you protect your skin and avoid smoking when you are younger, your skin is going to look better as you age. The two most important anti-aging products that are recommended by The American Academy of Dermatology are moisturizers and sunscreen. It is also a good idea to wear a hat with a brim because it protects the face and scalp. You need to get started with skincare as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to your skin. This also helps you lower the risks of cancer.

Sexual Functions. 

Estrogen levels drop and menstruation stops after menopause, and this is where many women start experiencing physical changes, with reduced vaginal lubrication being one of them. The changes that come with menopause can also reduce sex drive. When men age, they have to deal with erectile dysfunction – although according to the American Sexual Health Association, it is not a normal part of aging and it could be a sign of another medical issue or a side effect of some types of medication. The good thing is most of the physical issues can be treated or accommodated by open-minded partners ready to experiment.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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