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The Aging Body


The following is summary of a report by the National Institute on Aging. It can be found in the Journal on Active Aging at:" www.icaa.cc/journal

Life expectancy in the United States rose during the 20th century from about 73 for men to about 79 for men in l999. Most of this increase is due to environmental factors(ex.- sanitation, anti-biotics) and now people are not dying immediately from some illnesses but living longer with chronic diseases(ex.- cancer, heart disease, stroke, etc.).

The presumption that old age and disability go hand in hand is becoming old hat as more diseases are prevented or controlled and as individuals pay more attention to their life-styles. Examples include smoking, fat consumption, and exercise.

It is now thought that chronological age does not necessarily correlate with physiological age. Further we may each age differently and at a varying rates. The cells and the organs may each age at separate rates and that may vary with each person.

This report describes how specific organs and parts of the human body age. It talks specifically about the heart, arteries, lungs, brain, kidneys, bladder, body fat, muscles, bones, sight, and hearing. It describes the changes that may occur with each. It also indicates that personality may remain fairly stable.

There is some thinking that what we think is aging is really “disuse”. A loss of functioning may result from lack of use rather than age itself. 
The conclusion is that regular exercise and a healthy diet will keep us healthier longer.