What Happens to Our Bodies As We Age?

By Amanda Roland

Unless we are Benjamin Button, we will continue to age forward with each day and year that passes. With good genes and good habits, we will live a very long and prosperous life. But, that doesn’t mean our body and mind won’t go through the natural course of aging. According to Psychology Today, “aging is essentially the gradual but steady erosion of the organ systems and of the body’s built-in capacity to repair itself.” So, how exactly does our body change through the years?


Have you ever sworn up and down your grandparent must be shrinking? If so, you aren’t going crazy. On average most people lose about two inches by age 80, reports Psychology Today. The reason is attributed to a bend in the spine, compression in the disks of the vertebrae, decreased joint space in the extremities and changes to the arches of the feet.

“People typically lose almost one-half inch (about 1 centimeter) every 10 years after age 40,” according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Height loss is even more rapid after age 70. You may lose a total of 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.5 centimeters) in height as you age.”


It is no surprise that as we age our hair becomes thinner and grayer, but it also changes texture. Wavy hair can become straight, and coarse hair
can change to soft and fine. Most changes are due to hormonal changes, diet and even the products that one uses. Years of coloring and using heating elements can also have a lasting impression to your hair as you age.


As you age, your body begins to go through atrophy or muscle loss. Starting at age 30, “your muscles, liver, kidney, and other organs may lose some of their cells,” according to the US National Library of Medicine. After age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% muscle mass per decade, and most men will lose about 30% of their muscle mass during their lifetimes, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Factors to this include hormones such as a decline in testosterone.


Through the years, your large intestine structure can actually change, and according to the Mayo Clinic, can result in more constipation in older adults. Factors that affect this are a lack of exercise, not enough water, medication and medical conditions such as diabetes.


This one is hard to swallow, especially if you love food. UC San Diego Health reports that “by age 60, most people have lost half of their taste buds, which research has found is a big reason why older people often compensate by eating more foods high in tasty sugar, salt and fat.”


According to Harvard Health Publishing, “a lifetime of crunching, gnawing and grinding wears away the outer layer of enamel and flattens the biting edges. Tooth surfaces are also affected by exposure to acidic foods such as citrus fruits and carbonated beverages, which dissolve the protective enamel. Weakened enamel can set the stage for more serious dental problems.”


The National Institute of Hearing reports that “approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing loss.” By age 75, it is one in two. Unfortunately, hearing loss can begin as early as one’s 20s. Loud music, work environment and other factors can come into play when it comes to hearing loss.


Age brings on changes in eyesight, and it is recommended that people over 60 have regular eye exams to rule out serious problems such as cataracts, dry eyes and glaucoma.

On the flip side,

not all changes that we experience during aging may be considered negative. According to UC San Diego Health, the following also change — maybe for the better:


Due to your sweat glands shrinking, you sweat less when you.


Over time, the hard, inner tissue of your tooth called dentin gets built up between the outer enamel of a tooth and its central nerve. The added insulation diminishes sensitivity.


All those years of being exposed to germs seem to pay off.


You stop sweating the small stuff and appreciate life.

By Nicole Irving