Author Topic: How do people age?  (Read 7817 times)

DreamFIRE

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Re: How do people age?
« Reply #50 on: January 02, 2019, 07:19:31 PM »
My distance vision actually improved as I neared 50, needing lower strength contact lenses year after year.  I did need to start using reading glasses over my contacts for the computer monitor and reading, so it wasn't all for the better.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: How do people age?
« Reply #51 on: January 02, 2019, 07:32:20 PM »
I'm in my early 40s and recently I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease and its attendant hypothyroidism, but apparently I've had that for a very long time, so I don't think that is age-related.  That has been easy enough to treat with synthroid and now my metabolism is much better, which helps with controlling weight and mood. I have exercised at least ten hours a week for years, which has improved my physical fitness to the point where I am frequently mistaken for someone younger than 30.

A lot of supposedly age-related infirmities are actually due to poor physical fitness, so if you get serious about eating right and exercising you can avoid a lot of problems. I was just reading about lifelong runners and skiers who are still in peak physical condition in their late 60s and early 70s. Yeah, there is a genetic component to stuff like that, but most people blame genetics for physical issues that they cause through inactivity and poor diet.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do people age?
« Reply #52 on: January 02, 2019, 08:08:07 PM »
I'm in my early 40s and recently I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease and its attendant hypothyroidism, but apparently I've had that for a very long time, so I don't think that is age-related.  That has been easy enough to treat with synthroid and now my metabolism is much better, which helps with controlling weight and mood. I have exercised at least ten hours a week for years, which has improved my physical fitness to the point where I am frequently mistaken for someone younger than 30.

A lot of supposedly age-related infirmities are actually due to poor physical fitness, so if you get serious about eating right and exercising you can avoid a lot of problems. I was just reading about lifelong runners and skiers who are still in peak physical condition in their late 60s and early 70s. Yeah, there is a genetic component to stuff like that, but most people blame genetics for physical issues that they cause through inactivity and poor diet.

I see far more people who have used and abused their bodies for decades, and are in for hip and knee replacement, OA and a hell of a lot of other joint issues. There may be some skiiers and runners going strong at 70, but there are way more that aren't. Similarly, there may be builders and construction workers going well at 60 but most have major shoulder and wrist issues. We're not machines. Our shit breaks down. You cannot run and ski at 50 like you did at 20 and expect not to have problems.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: How do people age?
« Reply #53 on: January 03, 2019, 03:54:38 PM »
I'm in my early 40s and recently I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease and its attendant hypothyroidism, but apparently I've had that for a very long time, so I don't think that is age-related.  That has been easy enough to treat with synthroid and now my metabolism is much better, which helps with controlling weight and mood. I have exercised at least ten hours a week for years, which has improved my physical fitness to the point where I am frequently mistaken for someone younger than 30.

A lot of supposedly age-related infirmities are actually due to poor physical fitness, so if you get serious about eating right and exercising you can avoid a lot of problems. I was just reading about lifelong runners and skiers who are still in peak physical condition in their late 60s and early 70s. Yeah, there is a genetic component to stuff like that, but most people blame genetics for physical issues that they cause through inactivity and poor diet.

I see far more people who have used and abused their bodies for decades, and are in for hip and knee replacement, OA and a hell of a lot of other joint issues. There may be some skiiers and runners going strong at 70, but there are way more that aren't. Similarly, there may be builders and construction workers going well at 60 but most have major shoulder and wrist issues. We're not machines. Our shit breaks down. You cannot run and ski at 50 like you did at 20 and expect not to have problems.

It's true that things break down with age, but the impact of aging on the body is vastly exaggerated by terribly poor diet and fitness in 21st century America. The lifespan of Americans has decreased over the past decade mostly due to sedentary lifestyles, really horrible diets, and increased drug abuse (alcohol, illegal drugs, opiates, etc.) Fitness-minded seniors have surprisingly young hearts and bodies. Check out this article: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/01/older-athletes-have-a-strikingly-young-fitness-age/

And this article: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/03/12/591513777/hearts-get-younger-even-at-middle-age-with-exercise

The effects of aging don't have to be as drastic as a lot of people think they are. People can make good choices and live very well into their twilight years.

Samuel

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Re: How do people age?
« Reply #54 on: January 03, 2019, 04:43:45 PM »
It's true that things break down with age, but the impact of aging on the body is vastly exaggerated by terribly poor diet and fitness in 21st century America. The lifespan of Americans has decreased over the past decade mostly due to sedentary lifestyles, really horrible diets, and increased drug abuse (alcohol, illegal drugs, opiates, etc.)

Not exactly. American life expectancy dipped in 2015 and 2017 (and was essentially flat in 2016). The main drivers were increases in 1) suicide 2) drug overdose and 3) chronic liver disease, all primarily among men. Americans have been fat and lazy for a while now. What has recently changed is the level of despair in this country.

Which I point out not to undercut the emphasis on diet and exercise but to emphasize the importance of attending to mental health and emotional resiliency as we age.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do people age?
« Reply #55 on: January 03, 2019, 05:42:26 PM »
I'm in my early 40s and recently I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease and its attendant hypothyroidism, but apparently I've had that for a very long time, so I don't think that is age-related.  That has been easy enough to treat with synthroid and now my metabolism is much better, which helps with controlling weight and mood. I have exercised at least ten hours a week for years, which has improved my physical fitness to the point where I am frequently mistaken for someone younger than 30.

A lot of supposedly age-related infirmities are actually due to poor physical fitness, so if you get serious about eating right and exercising you can avoid a lot of problems. I was just reading about lifelong runners and skiers who are still in peak physical condition in their late 60s and early 70s. Yeah, there is a genetic component to stuff like that, but most people blame genetics for physical issues that they cause through inactivity and poor diet.

I see far more people who have used and abused their bodies for decades, and are in for hip and knee replacement, OA and a hell of a lot of other joint issues. There may be some skiiers and runners going strong at 70, but there are way more that aren't. Similarly, there may be builders and construction workers going well at 60 but most have major shoulder and wrist issues. We're not machines. Our shit breaks down. You cannot run and ski at 50 like you did at 20 and expect not to have problems.

It's true that things break down with age, but the impact of aging on the body is vastly exaggerated by terribly poor diet and fitness in 21st century America. The lifespan of Americans has decreased over the past decade mostly due to sedentary lifestyles, really horrible diets, and increased drug abuse (alcohol, illegal drugs, opiates, etc.) Fitness-minded seniors have surprisingly young hearts and bodies. Check out this article: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/01/older-athletes-have-a-strikingly-young-fitness-age/

And this article: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/03/12/591513777/hearts-get-younger-even-at-middle-age-with-exercise

The effects of aging don't have to be as drastic as a lot of people think they are. People can make good choices and live very well into their twilight years.

Look, I don't want to suggest that general health and fitness are not extremely important, because they are. But even a well maintained body simply won't go into old age without issues. Take a look at animals, perhaps, if the human argument is hard for you to see. Even a fit, healthy and well looked after dog will have joint and organ issues as it ages. There's no escaping it - there's just minimising it. And hardout exercise isn't the answer - talk to any professional athlete or anyone who has lived with a physical job, hell, even anyone in hospo who stands all day! They will ALL have issues aggravated by the high levels of physical demand on their bodies. The average person with the average semi-healthy and semi-active lifestyle will have a decline in all senses, a decline in strength, a decline in joint health, declines in the operations of the organs, their ability to heal and recover will be greatly impacted (there are many medical procedures that wouldn't be done on an 80 year old simply because the recovery won't be good, even getting a blood test can be problematic because of extreme bruising) and they will have less energy overall. The majority of that is related to the aging process, impacted by genetics and to a smaller degree, lifestyle.

FYI, the stats for americans are bad, but they're also quite skewed. The average american weighs more than their parents but is also taller and with more muscle mass. The average american actually isn't a lardass, but there are some might lardasses around who bump out the stats. Your leading cause of death in age groups leading up to 45 ish, male or female, is unintentional injury. The age related diseases start to kick in right around middle age, and it's a race between cancer and heart disease. I'm willing to bet the same is true of most countries, give or take 6 or7 years.

Trifele

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Re: How do people age?
« Reply #56 on: January 05, 2019, 05:59:33 AM »
My distance vision actually improved as I neared 50, needing lower strength contact lenses year after year.  I did need to start using reading glasses over my contacts for the computer monitor and reading, so it wasn't all for the better.

+1 on the improving distance vision.  I'm 51 and got lower strength contact lenses this past year, and now suddenly I don't need to use reading glasses over my contacts any more.   This is the best my vision has been in my life.  One set of lower strength contacts now works for everything I do.  On a day where I wear my distance glasses instead of contacts, I can just take them off to read with my bare eyes. 

It's weird.  I think this is the only benefit of being born nearsighted, but it's a very nice unexpected gift to discover in my 50s.  Enjoying it while it lasts!

BicycleB

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Re: How do people age?
« Reply #57 on: January 05, 2019, 06:53:47 AM »
One theme that emerged in thread was prevention. It is now emerging that there may be significant prevention to reduce risk of Alzheimer's - namely, by treating herpes. I hope this is considered in scope.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180712100515.htm

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2018.00324/full

"the use of anti-herpetic medications in the treatment of HSV infections was associated with a reduced risk of dementia"
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323439535_Anti-herpetic_Medications_and_Reduced_Risk_of_Dementia_in_Patients_with_Herpes_Simplex_Virus_Infections-a_Nationwide_Population-Based_Cohort_Study_in_Taiwan

Fwiw, my personal plan for health care this year includes getting tested for HSV1 and, if I have it, presumably getting treated. A lot of my family members age by getting Alzheimer's that manifests in late 60s/early 70s... I would like to prevent this!

Linea_Norway

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Re: How do people age?
« Reply #58 on: January 10, 2019, 02:17:30 AM »
One theme that emerged in thread was prevention. It is now emerging that there may be significant prevention to reduce risk of Alzheimer's - namely, by treating herpes. I hope this is considered in scope.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180712100515.htm

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2018.00324/full

"the use of anti-herpetic medications in the treatment of HSV infections was associated with a reduced risk of dementia"
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323439535_Anti-herpetic_Medications_and_Reduced_Risk_of_Dementia_in_Patients_with_Herpes_Simplex_Virus_Infections-a_Nationwide_Population-Based_Cohort_Study_in_Taiwan

Fwiw, my personal plan for health care this year includes getting tested for HSV1 and, if I have it, presumably getting treated. A lot of my family members age by getting Alzheimer's that manifests in late 60s/early 70s... I would like to prevent this!

And is this something you can take, also if you don't have Herpes?
I guess that might become a thing the researchers find out later and might recommend.

deborah

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Re: How do people age?
« Reply #59 on: January 14, 2019, 05:47:19 PM »
Worth reading are Nuland's How We Die and Gawande's Being Mortal. Neither text exactly addresses your question, but I found them both useful for thinking about & planning for the endgame.
These are an excellent suggestion. Thanks! I ordered both from my library and am currently reading “Being Mortal”.

While I disagree with a number of the things he says (daughters who cared for their parents were rarely left anything, for instance, unlike his rosy eyed view), this talks about the normal progression in aging, and is making me think more about how to cope with the progressive decline in my parents (unfortunately, this is increasing, and I’m noticing new things every time I visit, even though I have been there three times since the middle of December).

“How we die” will be next.

LinneaH

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Re: How do people age?
« Reply #60 on: January 15, 2019, 09:39:59 PM »
Ptf and to reply at computer later

koshtra

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Re: How do people age?
« Reply #61 on: January 16, 2019, 10:02:04 AM »
While I disagree with a number of the things he says (daughters who cared for their parents were rarely left anything, for instance, unlike his rosy eyed view), this talks about the normal progression in aging, and is making me think more about how to cope with the progressive decline in my parents (unfortunately, this is increasing, and I’m noticing new things every time I visit, even though I have been there three times since the middle of December).

Heh. Yes, and Gawande seems only intermittently aware that not everyone makes the salary of a doctor at Yale-New Haven hospital :-) I really liked the succinctness though of "we prefer safety for our loved ones, and autonomy for ourselves" (or however exactly he puts it.)

DK

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Re: How do people age?
« Reply #62 on: January 17, 2019, 07:51:03 AM »
https://www.amazon.com/Longevity-Solution-Dr-Jason-Fung/dp/1628603798

looking forward to this one when it comes out.

Laura33

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Re: How do people age?
« Reply #63 on: January 17, 2019, 01:40:14 PM »
The reality is that almost none of this stuff comes on "suddenly."  Every day when we use our bodies and minds, we are making hormones and moving muscles and bones and ligaments and tendons and firing neurons and all of that.  And if something is a little bit off, it maybe scrapes a teeny bit, or leaves some hormonal need just slightly undersatisfied.  And that accumulates over the course of your life, until at some point it reaches critical mass and you notice it.  Things that I have had "suddenly" go wrong between 40-50:

-- Eyesight:  all of a sudden I need reading glasses.  Except when I finally gave in, I realized my arms had been getting shorter and shorter for a while now; it was just so slow that I didn't notice it.
-- Joints:  I started having knee problems.  Turns out I don't walk "properly," and so my kneecap doesn't follow the right path and has worn down the cartilage and caused a lot of inflammation and pain.  And my rotator cuff:  turns out that when I hurt it in college, I really should have gone to a doctor, because now my lats and pecs have learned to compensate, and that has caused all sorts of other issues.  Oh, and best of all, my back:  I apparently have a curve in my back -- not scoliosis, just years of bad posture.  So now I can't run, because my back seizes up.
-- Hormone stuff:  menopause hits in ways that you might not even expect.  The change in those hormones in your body can affect other hormone levels and body processes, too.  In addition to the obvious/much-talked-about symptoms, over the past @2 years my blood pressure has shot up (from 90/60 to 110/75) and my cholesterol has suddenly spiked over 200.  Same diet (if not better), same exercise (if not more).
-- Teeth:  all of a sudden I had gingivitis and cracked a tooth and needed a crown.  Except the gingivitis was from decades of absolutely hating flossing, and the crown was because I have been grinding my teeth at night for years. 

IOW, you can probably guess for yourself where your problems may be.  Your 40s and 50s are when all your bad habits start to come home to roost.  So do what you can to take care of yourself:

-- Maintain flexibility and balance.  Yoga, stretching, whatever.  It sounds stupid, but I always put one shoe on while standing on the other leg, just to test my balance.
-- Maintain strength.  I was stunned when I couldn't do a cartwheel a few years ago -- I mean, I ran and did cartwheels and handstands and everything as a kid, but then I tried for the first time in years, and my arms couldn't hold me up.  When did that happen? 
-- Remember that your heart is a muscle too.  Get your heartrate up on a regular basis.
-- Eat better foods.  As the coach at my gym says, be a grownup, do it because you have to.
-- Go to the doctor and dentist regularly.  Many of the physical/hormonal changes come with no definable symptoms, so you will find out you have a problem only if they do a blood test.  And for the love of Pete, get mammograms and colonoscopies and all of those icky things we all love to avoid.
-- Recognize that you cannot recover as quickly any more.  This is far and away the hardest for me; when I get injured or sick, I hate waiting and waiting for things to get better and usually push things too quickly.  But when something goes wrong, your body needs rest to recover.  So suck it up and rest.  [I should note that my top goal at the gym this year is "no dumb-ass injuries"].
-- Continue to push yourself to try new things.  Just as our bodies calcify when we don't use them, our brains do the same thing when we do the same thing over and over and over.  Ruts are death.  Take a class, try something just because you know you'll be bad at it, fix a leaky faucet yourself, face down a fear, learn everything you can about an issue that interests you, etc. -- the "what" doesn't matter.

All of these things may or may not lengthen your life.  But they will certainly improve the quality of whatever time you have.

Finally, and less specifically: accept your limitations and focus on what you can do instead of what you can't.  This is the time of life where it is easy to get down on yourself, because when all these things start going wrong, you realize that you're not as [insert adjective here] as you used to be, and that things are only going to get worse, and from there it's just a hop-skip-and-a-jump to life-sucks-and-then-you-die.  Listen to me when I say:  that is all bullshit.  You can do more than you think you can.  You know that cartwheel I failed at?  Well, it sent me to CrossFit, and now I can lift more than I could in college.  I've been a lawyer for 25+ years and learned an entirely new area of law for my job.  My boss gave me a nameplate for my office that says "unfuckwithable."  Yeah, I've lost some things, but I've gained a lot more.  I am way more of a badass now than I ever was in my youth.

That is why you need to push yourself to try new things: because it forces you to realize that you are capable and strong.  And then maybe you'll spend less time on message boards fretting about all of the parade of horribles that are going to come your way as you get older.  ;-)