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Aging-what's normal vs. what's not

In my third year of PT school we spent an entire semester studying what's supposed to happen in the normal aging process. This class was so fascinating to me, enlightening, and most of all encouraging. I have heard so many times "this is probably happening because of my age" "I'm too old to do that" etc. A lot of blaming symptoms on increasing age.

Let's go over what's ACTUALLY changing because of increasing age.

The aging process has little to no affect on the function of the:

-gastrointestinal system



-bladder (it does shift to nighttime production of urine)

-endocrine system, however there is a slight decrease in function and impaired ability to return to homeostasis/baseline after stress

The aging process has a larger affect on the:

-cardiovascular system (arteriosclerosis-hardening of arteries which will in turn increase blood pressure with aging)

Cardiovascular disease is NOT a normal part of aging

-pulmonary system

-kidney function, decline begins at 65

-integumentary system

-immune system

-liver function (lots of changes in the way the body metabolizes medications)

*basically these systems have a harder time recovering and making it back to your baseline than they did in younger years*

-and the MUSCULAR system

-sarcopenia is defined by Cleveland Clinic as "age related progressive loss of muscle mass and strength."

It's unknown if you can prevent sarcopenia fully but what you can do is implement a regular and consistent strength training program to slow the progression of muscle loss. Losing function as a normal process of aging is not true. Keep doing the physical things that you love to do-get down on the floor, run around, do pushups, go swimming, whatever it is! The second you stop doing it-the harder it will be to start back at a later date. This is the key to staying functional your whole life.

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