Old age: illness or norm?

Modern diagnostic capabilities often make it possible to make an accurate diagnosis instead of uncertain nods on age. For example, the feeling of unbearable discomfort in the legs was no longer attributed to the lack of magnesium - it turned out that this symptom can be associated with varicose veins of the lower extremities, and with polyneuropathy, and with restless legs syndrome. So "the diagnosis of" old age "" was finally left on the pages of the history of medicine ... And he was replaced by a vehement denial by patients of his age.

It would be ok if people of age would rush to the workout grounds in the nearby park, throw cheap sausage into the trash can and start learning the page from Eugene Onegin by heart every day to push cognitive impairments into the distant future. This denial of age can be called truly beautiful, worthy of admiration and imitation.

Most older people prefer to deny old age, demanding magic “rejuvenating” pills from doctors, but it is better to give injections and droppers.“I’m young at heart,” say these patients and don’t buy a blood pressure monitor for home use, although their district therapist insists on this. “There is no diagnosis of“ old age ”,” the rest of the “advanced” grannies echo them and buy useless devices for home physiotherapy and yoghurts in which there is an abyss of sugar. However, they remain confident that they adhere to a healthy diet.

Old age: illness or norm?

Yet age-related changes in the body occur. Staying forever young is impossible under any circumstances. The strictest diet with an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits, high-quality olive oil, sea fish, greens will not save from these changes (but will reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases - such a diet is called Mediterranean and is well studied in serious studies).

In Russia, there are 25% of people over 60 years old. The World Health Organization reports that in the future this figure will increase. Age changes the human body, changes gradually and imperceptibly. The bad news: we’ll all get older.


Atherosclerosis is plaque in the vessels that can interfere with blood flow, they are extremely rarely found in young people and almost always are in the elderly.Theories of the appearance of atherosclerosis are plentiful - from the assumption that viruses are at fault, to the hypothesis of vascular attack by their own immunity. One thing remains obvious: the older the person, the more pronounced he has atherosclerosis, and hence, the higher the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Loss of muscle mass

With age, there is a gradual replacement of muscle tissue with fat. This process is considered physiological. The presence of some, close to excess, amount of adipose tissue in elderly people, as it turned out, helps to increase the survival rate for cardiovascular diseases. However, excess fat often limits the mobility of a person, makes it inactive and therefore ... increases the risks of all the same cardiovascular diseases.

Old age: illness or norm?

And if the benefit and harm of fat tissue, as well as its optimal amount for each person can be argued, then about the muscles the opinion of scientists is one. Lack of muscle tissue increases the risk of falls, the likelihood of becoming disabled, getting osteoporosis. Finally, studies have shown that the smaller the muscles in an older person, the higher the likelihood of death.For women over 85 years old, for example, a low hand grip force means twice the risk of dying.


With age, the "rarefaction" of bone tissue occurs, it becomes fragile and especially vulnerable, the risk of fractures increases. This is due to a decrease in the level of sex hormones and a lack of muscle tissue. And if it is difficult to influence the first factor, the second one is quite amenable to influence. That is why it is important for an elderly person to choose regular physical activity with elements of power loads, while avoiding traumatic sports like figure skating or rugby.

Decreased intellectual ability

The likelihood of developing cognitive impairment increases with age. This does not mean that age is the only risk factor. For example, if a person has a “time bomb” in his genes, such as Huntington’s chorea or early-onset Alzheimer's disease, dementia will occur in his youth.

Yet a decline in attention, memory, and the ability to generate spontaneous ideas is typical for older people. This problem can be, if not avoided, then at least delayed.We'll have to be in an enriched environment - by this concept, neuroscientists understand the new environment, which forces a person to include adaptive mechanisms. It also helps regular physical activity and, of course, systematic and diverse intellectual workload. A daily crossword puzzle solution that some district therapists so much advise pensioners to do is better than nothing, but it's difficult to call it the ideal solution. It is much more useful to alternate memorizing poems, solving mathematical and spatial problems, analyzing literary works. In other words, helping grandchildren with homework can be the best solution for the prevention of intellectual disorders in a pensioner - to the obvious joy of grandchildren and their parents.

Old age: illness or norm?

Does all of the above mean that old age is a disease? Not at all. Age-related changes are considered physiological, that is, not beyond the norm. In other words, it is possible to live with them, moreover - to live happily ever after.

However, to remember the risk factors of diseases that are associated with age, it is still useful - in order to engage in prevention.For a person of any age, this means the gradual and unobtrusive introduction of beneficial habits throughout life, along with the maintenance of already learned. Therefore, every year it is worthwhile to treat yourself a little more carefully, without becoming, however, a hypochondriac; be able to recognize not only pain, but also any other bodily or physical discomfort, consult a doctor promptly. It is reasonable to convert a healthy lifestyle from irregular “raids” into a convenient, comfortable and pleasant system. Even if nothing bothers you, it is useful to undergo an annual medical check-up - the availability of a health insurance policy allows you to go through most of the necessary examinations for free. Finally, do not despair from the emergence of new diseases, for example, it is not clear where the hypertension comes from. Denial of the disease - the choice of a psychologically immature person. If you manage to cope with psychological defenses in time and begin to follow simple doctor's recommendations, the results can pleasantly surprise you with an improvement in the quality of life.

You should not deny your age, rely on magic pills or miraculous interval starvation, as well as the fact that scientists will soon discover the simple and accessible to all the secret of immortality.Any age is wonderful if you understand what difficulties may arise and avoid them in a timely manner - with the help of a healthy lifestyle and the advice of adequate doctors.

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