Advancement on technology had brought different changes into the society. These aims to provide additional comfort and making things work more efficiently. But there are changes that people cannot prevent to happen. These are biological changes such as getting old.
People respond to the aging process as a negative thing. Misconceptions arises that lead to common negative behavior towards the aging process. Getting old is a natural process. Anti-aging solutions are invented to prevent physical changes that it may cause like gray hair and wrinkles.
Its no secret that our bodies change as we age. Physical as well as psychological changes as effect of aging can be experienced. Some changes are obvious, while others are more subtle. Others, may experience the effects of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, which can gradually diminish their abilities to participate fully in activities. While there are still people age comfortably and remain active, alert and vibrant throughout their lives. Their physiologic age may be quite younger than their chronological age.
Because of the negative connotation on the process of aging, women who are known to be more conscious than men generally find it an issue to accept aging as a natural process of life.
This study aims to discuss the impact of aging to the female group given in a modern and more advance society. This will provide description on how female cope, adapt and react to the aging process.
SCOPE AND DELIMITATION
The research covers the issue of aging on female point of view. . It also provide an overview on what is aging and the physical and mental changes it bring to a person. This also identify some misconceptions about aging.
The study is significant to discuss the impact of aging to women. It identifies the reasons on how the female gender response to the stage of aging. It discusses the common misconceptions regarding aging that can be properly addressed. This study is also significant for future researches related to the topic.
Misconceptions on Aging
There are a lot of misconceptions about getting old. It is a negative connotation that aging means getting near to the end of growth. And that old age is a lonely stage of life. It is also a misconception that when one is old, he/she believes that there are only limited to certain activities especially in the physical aspect. One fears getting old because of the fear of loosing independence.
Another misconception is that people think that the happy days of their lives were experienced when they are young. According to a recent study shown, these several misconceptions vary from the reality regarding the issue of aging. The research was conducted by VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and University of Michigan researchers to 540 adults who were between the ages of 21 and 40, or over age 60 .
They were asked to rate their level of happiness through answering questions. The results are published in the June issue of the Journal of Happiness Studies, a major research journal in the field of positive psychology. There is a stereotype existing between the old and young in the society. One thinks that the happy days of his/her life happens only when he/she is young.
In another research by Linda M. Woolf, Ph.D., the concept of ageism was examined between younger and older men and women in the present study. It was entitled Effects of Age and Gender on Perceptions of Younger and Older Adults. The study discusses the older adults are perceived more negatively than younger adults. Through gender interaction effect, a significant age by was found.
Both younger and older men rated stimulus older adults significantly less positively than stimulus younger adults. However, older women rated stimulus older adults significantly more positively than they rated other stimulus-age groups. Older women were the only subject group that did not exhibit a consistent negative bias against older adults. Conversely, younger women rated stimulus older adults more negatively than any subject group.
The effects of aging are obvious on the body. Our body is made up of cells and tissues that keep on regenerating and replenishing to keep our body sustaining. As we grow old, this process decreases where replacement of old to new cells are slowing causing the signs of aging to appear.
Physical changes like poor hearing and declining vision takes place. The strength of muscles lessens due to soft tissues like skin and blood vessels that became less flexible are some general changes that occur in the human body as it ages. Skin starts to become dry and wrinkled. It looses its elasticity and the glands function less so sweating occurs lesser than the usual. Moreover, there is an overall decline in body tone that can be observed. The bodys performance becomes less efficient. Not all people experience decreased organ function to the same degree”some individuals are healthier due to good diet and exercise when they are younger.
Aging also affects the immune system of a person. Human antibody lessens their act against free radicals. The immune system also changes with age. The antibodies, disease-fighting proteins, protect the body against bacteria, viruses, and other harmful agents in a healthy immune system. A healthy immune system also prevents the growth of abnormal cells, which can become cancerous. With advancing age, the ability of the immune system to carry out these protective functions is diminished”the rate of antibody production may drop by as much as 80 percent between age 20 and age 85. This less-effective immune system explains why a bout of influenza, which may make a young adult sick for a few days, can be fatal for an elderly person.
For females, these changes on the body due to the advancement of age have a greater issue. Aging causes changes on the physical aspect of a person and one of the major effects of aging occurs in the female reproductive system. With aging, a womans breasts lose tissue and subcutaneous fat, reducing breast size and fullness. There is also a decrease in the number of mammary ducts. The breasts lose support. Aging breasts commonly flatten and sag, and the nipple may turn in slightly. The areola (the area surrounding the nipple) becomes smaller and may nearly disappear. Loss of hair around the nipple is common. Breast cancer risk increases with age. Women should perform monthly breast self-examinations. However, because breast self-exams do not always pick up early stages of breast cancer, women should also talk to their health care providers about mammograms.
It also affects the fertility cycle of a woman. Menopausal stage takes place on about age 45 to age 55 of a female where the ovaries does not longer produce egg cells. This means that she can no longer bear a child. This is also the end of the menstrual cycle since there is no longer the release of sexual hormones that motivates the cycle.
Although the average onset of menopause occurs in the early part of the sixth decade there is an observable, real and significant decline in the 10 to 15 years before menstruation ceases. Scientific studies on natural populations (those with high marital rates and no birth control) and on infertility populations all confirm the presence of an age related decline in female fertility independent of all other factors. This effect becomes most prominent after age 35.
Aging cause loss of female fertility. Although menstrual irregularities generally begin to show in the last half of the 5th decade (a time termed perimenopause) there is a marked decrease in fertility in the 10 years preceding this that appears to be independent of male or pelvic factors and despite the occurrence of regular menstrual cycles and ovulation. Similarly a decrease in success rates for IVF is seen in this population as well. The discussion then seems to focus on whether this decrease in fertility is due to ovarian factors, uterine factors or both.
In other mammals there does appear to be a host of age related uterine changes that do limit fertility however, initial studies in humans failed to show consistent aging changes. Furthermore it now seems that the endometrium of an ovulatory older woman with appropriate levels of estradiol and progesterone should be able to be appropriately receptive to and supportive of implantation.
The catch here is that as we age, even while still regularly menstruating, there are subtle shifts in hormonal patterns that may make the endometrium less receptive. As an example, luteal phase defect is far more common at the edges of reproductive life (very young, very old, newly delivered) but progesterone supplementation, which in theory should overcome the defect, does not appear to have made a significant difference in pregnancy rates for older women.
More compelling support for the idea that the problem is primarily ovarian in nature comes from the fact that pregnancy rates for younger women and older women undergoing IVF with donor eggs are quite comparable. There are however, still some questions about uterine receptivity and study is ongoing in attempts to isolate out the effect of the older uterus from the effect of aging eggs of poor quality.
The bottom line for now seems to be that although everyone agrees that egg quality and ovarian reserve definitely decline with age and are perhaps the primary factors causing an age related decrease in female fertility, there may be uterine factors in play as well. Further study to elucidate the mechanisms at work and, hopefully, to devise new treatment options are indicated.
A number of other studies investigates the effects of aging. Scientists have found, for example, a possible explanation for why women have longer average life spans than men. The difference seems to be biologically determined, and male and female sex hormones are probably responsible. The blood levels of female sex hormones drop sharply during menopause. At that time, the incidence of heart disease and high blood pressure in women increases to match the incidence in men, suggesting that the presence of female sex hormones offers some protection against heart disease.
In developed nations, life expectancy has increased more in the 20th century than it has in all of recorded history. A person born in the United States in 1995 can expect to live more than 35 years longer than a person born in 1900. Today more than 34 million Americans are 65 or older, accounting for about 13 percent of the population. By the year 2030, their numbers will more than double: One in every five Americans will be over age 65.
A person who lives 100 years or more”a centenarian”was once a rarity, but today about 60,000 Americans are 100 years or older. By the year 2060, there may be as many as 2.5 million centenarians in the United States. The number of supercentenarians”people 105 years of age and older”will probably be as commonplace in the next century as centenarians are fast becoming now.
How to Counteract with Aging
Knowing what to expect and taking steps to counterbalance the effects of aging can help you maintain a young spirit and an independent life. A healthy diet, regular exercise program and positive attitude can help delay the onset and slow the progression of many age-related changes.
Many of the changes in our musculoskeletal system result more from disuse than from simple aging. Fewer than 10 percent of Americans participate in regular exercise, and the most sedentary group is over age 50.
Stretching is an excellent way to help maintain joint flexibility. Weight training can increase muscle mass and strength, enabling people to continue their daily routine activities without maximal exertion. Even moderate amounts of physical activity can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Much recent research has been conducted on the effects of exercise on aging. In all of the studies described above, exercise had positive effects on aging. It has been found to increase reaction time, assist in predicting good aging, and improve psychological well-being. Factors such as health, social support, efficacy, and motivation are indicators of the maintenance of exercise. One should acknowledge the factors influencing exercise, recognize the numerous benefits of exercise, and take action at any age in order to live a more healthy and happy life now and in old age.
Long-term regular exercises may slow the loss of muscle mass and prevent age-associated increases in body fat. Exercise also helps maintain the bodys response time, as well as its ability to deliver and use oxygen efficiently. Just 30 minutes of moderate activity, incorporated into your daily routine, can provide health benefits. An exercise program doesnt have to be strenuous to be effective.
Walking, square dancing, swimming and bicycling are all recommended activities for maintaining fitness into old age. The 30 minutes of moderate activity can be broken up into shorter periods; you might spend 15 minutes working in the garden in the morning and 15 minutes walking in the afternoon. It all adds up. But if youve never attempted an exercise program before, be sure to see your doctor before starting one now.
Behavioral medicine research over the past several years has identified a umber of psychosocial characteristics that affect the development and course of a wide range of life-threatening illnesses. Included among these psychosocial risk factors are hostility, depression, social isolation, high job strain, and low socioeconomic status.
The specific mechanisms whereby these factors influence the pathogenesis and prognosis of major causes of death such as coronary heart disease (CHD) and cancer have not been identified yet, but considerable research points to accompanying health behaviors (smoking, dietary habits, and alcohol consumption) and biological characteristics (altered functions of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems [SNS, PNS], of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal [HPA] axis, and of the immune system) as likely mediators.
Finally, research evaluating interventions targeting psychosocial risk factors in groups of patients with CHD and cancer offer considerable promise that secondary prevention will be shown to have an important place in the treatment and rehabilitation of major chronic diseases . Anti-aging can be a difficult topic to address. A war is currently being fought over the meaning of anti-aging (as research, medicine, brand, or simply adjective) and thus even mentioning the term is likely to prejudice many readers.
Like it or not, anti-aging now has a number of quite different common meanings and connotations. Each is championed by a particular group or loose coalition of interests, but advocates for these groups have a way of diving into the fray without defining their terms. This makes reading about anti-aging techniques, technologies, medicine, products, and debates very confusing for the newcomer.
For the scientific community, anti-aging research refers exclusively to slowing, preventing, or reversing the aging process. There is, as of 2007, no medical technology that allows this to be done although the jury is still out on calorie restriction in humans. Nor is there any currently available method (short of waiting for people to die) to accurately measure the effects of an alleged anti-aging therapy. In the medical and more reputable business community, anti-aging medicine means early detection, prevention, and reversal of age-related diseases. This is quite different from tackling the aging process itself, and a wide array of strategies and therapies are currently available. Calorie restriction, for example, is a demonstrated way to lower risk for a wide range of age-related degenerative conditions.
The wider business community including a great many fraudulent and frivolous ventures views anti-aging as a valuable brand and a demonstrated way to increase sales. At the worse end of the scale, this leads to snake oil salesmen, anti-aging creams that may or may not make your skin look younger, and infomercials that tout the anti-aging benefits of exercise machines. Broadly, and very charitably, we can look at these varied definitions of anti-aging as meaning to look and feel younger in some way which has no bearing on how long you live or how healthy you actually are.
The confusion of most interest is between the first two definitions. Many interventions lengthen life span for individuals by preventing or curing specific age-related diseases that would otherwise prove fatal. For example, ask yourself whether preventing heart disease or diabetes is anti-aging medicine. This would have no effect on the aging process, but it would help many people to live longer, healthier lives. Is this anti-aging research? Scientists say no, some medical and business groups say yes.
Aging is such a bad word in our society. We dont want to see old people, much less sit next to them. Even old people dont like to be around other old people.But maybe the reason that many seniors cant embrace their golden years is that they have never had it modeled for them. People today just live longer.
The fastest growing segment in todays society is those 85 and older. Its a whole new ballgame for seniors today. A lot are unsure what to do or whats expected of them. In some ways, were pioneers showing younger folk what to do and what they can do when they are this age.
Indeed, the work of a person growing old is that of becoming an elder, discovering spiritual treasures and passing them along to others. Despite physical limitations, there are many positives about aging, including more time to be spent in meditation and prayer, working on a closer connection to God and selves. That meditative work can encourage elders to review their lives, see how they made a difference as well as bringing up old wounds and pains.
Its here that seniors need to work on forgiving others, themselves and God as they let go of past hurts, grudges and pains.
AGING ON FEMALES PERSPECTIVE
Response to Physical Changes
It is a much issue for women when they feel they get old considering females to be a more conscious gender when it comes to the physical aspect. After discussing the physical changes that it can bring, without proper caring, ones body can be a total wreck.
Another issue that aging brought is that it lessen ones self esteem. Women are conscious of their age. Youth implies beauty. Something that one tries to preserve while she is still has the youthfulness. That is why anti aging creams, pills etc. are in demand to most women. For example, there is a preference of choosing a younger female.
As women age their concerns about health grow”and rightfully so given that women are at greater risks for some health conditions. For example, according to the Illinois Department on Aging, heart disease is the No. 1 leading cause of death among older women. Women are twice as likely as men to die within the first year of having a heart attack. The second leading cause of death for women is cancer”specifically lung and breast cancer”and the third leading cause of death is stroke. Women who have hypertension or diabetes are at greater risk for heart disease and strokes.
Like all women, lesbians are at risk for health problems associated with aging. Some evidence suggests that they may even be at greater risk for some age-related health problems. For example, because lesbians as a group are less likely to have been pregnant, more likely to drink alcohol and smoke”and more likely to be overweight”their risk of breast cancer may be greater than the risk among women in the general population. However, we need much more research before we can say much of anything for sure about lesbians risks for breast cancer or the other leading causes of death.
In the Chicago Health and Life Experiences of Women (CHLEW) study we are collecting information about these and many other health concerns of lesbians. We are happy to report that, in general, the 450 lesbians in our study are overall very healthy”in fact, when we first interviewed them in 2000-2001, 74% of them rated their health as good or excellent; only 7% said that their health was poor. Very few women in the study reported being diagnosed with breast cancer , heart disease, or diabetes.
However, 17% said that they have high blood pressure (hypertension). One of the reasons for these low rates of problems is that the women are relatively young”the average age of the women in the study is 39 years (only about a quarter of them are over 45 years old). As they get older, lesbians, like other women, face higher risk for these serious health problems. Because we have not yet discovered the cure for aging it is important that we take care of ourselves in order to reduce these risks and improve our overall quality of life. Among the most important ways that we can take care of ourselves include getting regular exercise, not smoking, and using sodium (salt) and alcohol in moderation.
Some misconceptions of women and the truth
The older I get, the worse my body will feel. The increasing stiffness and aches & pains that often come with age are not a result of age, but are due to lack of movement. Although there are some changes in the tissues in the process of aging, one can continue to remain remarkably flexible and free of pain through something as simple as regular stretching.
Its too late to start taking care of myself ¦ it wont do any good at this age. A healthy lifestyle has been found to be one of the most important factors in how people age. Improvements in lifestyle (with the 3 key areas being good food, exercise and regular relaxation and rest) will bring improvements at any age.
Im getting too old to learn new things Research shows that older people can, and do, learn new things. Attitude plays an important role. People who believe they can learn new things do.
Sex is only for the young. People can, and do, continue to enjoy sex well into their senior years. People are sexual beings throughout the life cycle, but sexuality is experienced differently at different ages. Changes in hormones affects the experience of sex, and one may need to find different ways to be intimate. Relaxation is key here so that we dont panic when things dont happen the way they used to. Aging does not imply that they are too old for sex but simply they need to give themselves some breathing room to become familiar with our changing physiologies.
The older I get, the less attractive I become. There is nothing more attractive than someone who has aged well. There is a special radiance in a elderly person who is at peace with themselves and life. Attractiveness has absolutely nothing to do with age. Its never too late to change the two most important ingredients to graceful aging attitude and lifestyle. At the risk of sounding like a broken record to those of you whove read my previous articles there are two very simple but essential lifestyle ingredients for successful aging -relaxation and stretching.