Physical Aspects of Aging and the Problem of Health - Psychology

Physical aspects of aging and the health problem

Morphofunctional changes in late adulthood affect virtually all bodily organs and body systems. The appearance of a person changes: gray appears, wrinkles deepen, posture changes, teeth fall out, skin wilts.

Changes in the musculoskeletal system are expressed in a decrease in muscle mass, which leads to a decrease in the weight of a person; in the compression of intervertebral discs, demineralization of bones, so the growth of people in old age is reduced by 3-5 cm, there are problems with posture, osteoporosis may develop (the bones become brittle, often break down, grow worse), the muscles slow down and deteriorate. A number of changes affect the sense organs: a decrease in visual acuity, a decrease in the ability to focus the eyes on objects, a change in the transparency of the lens (about 16% of people older than 75 years either completely lose sight, or have serious visual defects); hearing loss (50-75% of people over 75 have serious hearing problems); a slight decrease in smell and taste sensitivity; increase in the threshold of tactile sensitivity.

Changes are also affecting many internal organs: there are violations in the cardiovascular system, in the digestive tract, pulmonary gas exchange worsens, kidney function and endocrine glands deteriorate, changes in the immune system are observed, resulting in people being less protected from exposure in old age microorganisms and diseases. Changes that affect all internal organs are associated with a decrease in their reserve capacity. If in early adulthood these organs were able to function in a 4-10-fold excess of the norm, at a later age, the body's reserves are significantly reduced, and excess of usual loads can lead to serious disruptions in its work, up to a lethal outcome. Such a decrease in the reserve capacity of the body leads to the fact that in the old age the ability to resist stress decreases.

Based only on the changes listed in the body of an elderly person, it is quite obvious that the health problem becomes one of the main ones at a later age.

Somatic troubles, a sense of physical ailment make up the specificity of bodily aging.

As many gerontologists point out, older women, with better physical health indicators (compared to men) pay more attention to their health, visit doctors more often, seek medical help, complain more often about their ailments.

However, it must be remembered that changes in the aging period are of an individual nature. There are people who, until old age, maintain good health and do not show significant changes in various body systems. Physical aging, diseases, according to gerontologists, are explained not only by the biological process conditioned by nature, but also depend on the attitude of people towards the fact of their own aging, their way of life. Here, the effect of accumulating experienced illnesses and stresses, and the presence of bad habits are important.

For the aging process, it is natural not only to reduce the physical strengths and possibilities, but also, according to NF Shakhmatov, mental decay, which is expressed in limiting the range of interests, passivity, mental lethargy, and inner motives. At the same time, all personal characteristics and character traits, creative abilities, a critical assessment of one's own strengths and capabilities, and the ability of adequate social adjustment can be preserved. The time of manifestation of mental decline, the speed of its development, severity and depth are also different. Noticeable signs of mental decline are associated with physical illness and most often appear in people older than 85.

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