Your body changes as you age, and so do your health needs. Aging affects human physiology, including your cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and digestive systems as well as your memory, cognitive function and urinary tract. Your health care needs change in response to these physiological effects of aging.
Aging brings about cardiovascular changes and special health care for your heart and blood vessels. As you age, your heart becomes slightly slower, and it may even get a little larger. Your arteries also become stiffer, which makes it harder for your heart to pump blood through them. This could lead to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems requiring special health care.
Aging affects the digestive tract. Constipation is more common in older adults. Many factors contribute to constipation, including a low-fiber diet, inadequate fluid intake, lack of exercise, and the use of certain medications. Many seniors avoid high-fiber foods and drinking a lot of liquid to reduce visits to the bathroom. Older adults are also more prone to sedentary lifestyles and take more constipation-causing medications.
Changes in Body Composition
Your body contains fat, lean tissue like organs and muscles, bones, and water in different proportions. As you age, the amount of fat, muscles, bones and water tend to change. Your muscles, kidneys, liver, and other organs may begin to lose cells, in a physiological process known as atrophy. The loss of tissue reduces the amount of water in your body. Bones lose minerals and become less, which can lead to osteoporosis and bones that fracture easily.
After the age of 30, the amount of body fat goes up, and muscle tissue goes down. Excess body fat can make you overweight and therefore at greater risk for health problems associated with obesity. The excess weight can also put you at risk for falling, especially if you have lost a lot of muscle tissue in your legs and core.
Changes in Memory and Cognitive Function
Many people struggle with the loss of memory and cognitive function as they age. These losses can cause significant changes in your health needs as you become increasingly unable to care for yourself.
Changes in Bladder Control and Function
Loss of bladder control, also known as urinary incontinence, is common with aging. Certain age-related medical conditions, such as diabetes, menopause and enlarged prostate, can increase your risk for urinary problems that require special care.