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Why do people grow old?

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Why do people grow old? Ageing is a result of the gradual failure of the body's cells and organs to replace or repair themselves.This is because there is a limit to the number of times that each cell can divide. As the body's cells begin to near this limit, the rate at which they divide slows down.

Sometimes the new cells that are produced have defects or do not carry out their usual task effectively. Organs can then begin to fail, tissues change in structure, and the chemical reactions that power the body become People are now living far longer and less efficient. often remain healthy into very old age.

How does the body change with increasing age?

Older people are no longer growing, and so they are not as active as they used to be. For this reason they do not need to eat as much and quite often become thinner. The body loses muscle as well as fat, and sometimes older people become unsteady on their feet.

Why do old people get shorter?

The spine becomes shorter in older people because the pads of cartilage between the bony vertebrae grow thinner. Older people often lose bone in a condition called osteoporosis. This usually affects elderly women, although it can also appear in men. The bone becomes spongy, and when it affects the vertebrae in the spine they may collapse. This causes pain, and also makes the person's spine shorter and curved. Osteoporosis can be treated with drugs, and a diet containing the mineral calcium can also help. Calcium is plentiful in milk and cheese.

Why does the skin become wrinkled?

The skin becomes looser as people age. As skin sags it forms into wrinkles and creases. This happens because the fibres of collagen that normally provide support to the skin become weaker. Smoking and overexposure to the Sun can make skin more likely to wrinkle.

Do people become forgetful in old age?

It is very common for old people to become forgetful, although many retain perfect memories from long ago.

Many things can cause forgetfulness. Sometimes the blood supply to the brain is not effective. The brain cells become starved of oxygen and nutrients, leading to dizzy spells and forgetfulness. Dementia is a condition where forgetfulness becomes a serious problem, and the person may not be able to look after himself or herself.

Alzheimer's disease is the most serious form of dementia. For most old people, memories bring great pleasure. Strangely, even though recent events may be forgotten, old people often clearly remember events that took place in their childhood.

Tags: people, age, body

Category: Health  - ( Health Archive)

Date Added: 23 December '11

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