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  • Five Mysteries of Aging Revealed

  • Five Mysteries of Aging Revealed

    AgingDoes the ability to hear decrease with age?

    Age-related hearing loss is a progressive inability to hear high frequencies. The disorder occurs in about 25 percent of people aged 65 to 75 and in 70 percent to 80 percent of those over age 75 . Hearing loss can also be genetic.

    As you age, the cells in your inner ear that are responsible for picking up sound waves start to deteriorate. Loud noise can also damage these cells. The first sign of hearing loss may be difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds, because the cells that detect these sounds are often the first ones to die. Other age-related changes contributing to hearing loss include thickening of your eardrums, earwax build-up and thinning of the walls of your ear canal.

    Why does skin wrinkle, sag and bruise easier with age?

    As you age, your skin becomes thinner and less elastic. The fat layer under the skin thins as you age, making your skin more fragile and wrinkled, and causing increased sensitivity to the cold. The blood vessels of the dermis become more fragile, which can lead to bruising, bleeding under the skin and other similar conditions. As you age, you lose the natural oils in the skin which causes the skin to become dry and itchy.

    Do you lose your sense of taste as you age?

    The sense of taste begins to decline at midlife, around 45. This may be due in part to the degeneration of the nerves that control smell, which can directly or indirectly affect taste.

    Another reason for the decline is the loss of taste buds. Most of us begin life with 9,000 taste buds. By the time we are old, we have roughly half that number. The news isn't good for the other senses, either: all five senses decline with age.

    Why do you get shorter as you age?

    As you grow older, you tend to lose both muscle and fat. The weight of gravity starts to push your bones closer together, resulting in a loss of height. Over the years, you will roughly lose an inch or so.

    A major culprit of the shrinking process is osteoporosis. This condition usually affects women and those with smaller, lighter bones. Around the ages of 30 to 40, the cells that build new bone cannot compete with those that remove bone. The total amount of bone then decreases, and osteoporosis may develop. The average rate of bone loss in men, and in women who have not yet reached menopause, is small. But after menopause, bone loss in women accelerates to an average of one to two percent a year.

    You can help prevent the effects of osteoporosis by being active in your youth and as you age, as well as ensuring you take in enough calcium.

    Why does your hair turn gray?

    Hair starts to turn gray because of a reduction in the amount of pigment or melanin produced in your hair follicles. Hair also starts thinning in both men and women. Almost everyone will have some degree of hair loss, and the rate that your hair grows will slow down as well. Premature gray hair can be genetic, but it has also been associated with vitamin deficiencies and smoking.