degenerative diseases of aging

There are many different signs and symptoms of aging. Most of these develop gradually and are very diverse, but it should be remembered that it is not possible to diagnose aging based on isolated signs and symptoms alone. Different people possess widely varying degrees of these signs and symptoms. Some of these include:

  • An overall decrease in energy and vigor
  • The tendency to become easily tired
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Decreased memory
  • Behavioural changes
  • Skin and hair changes such as wrinkles, brown spots on the skin, loss of skin elasticity, and hair loss affecting the limbs
  • Changes in hair colour
  • A loss or decrease in vision and hearing
  • Changes in bowel function
    Decrease in libido
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Urinary problems such as incontinence, dribbling, and changes in frequency of urination
  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Abdominal obesity and inability to lose weight

Sooner or later, many people develop one or more of the degenerative diseases of aging, such as:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Arthritis
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Hearing loss

These conditions cause pain and suffering to patients and their families – the economic and social costs are staggering.

Q – At what age does atherosclerosis begin? (Atherosclerosis is a condition characterized by a narrowing of the arteries caused by cholesterol-rich plaques.)

A – The initial lesions of atherosclerosis have been found in children. By 20 years of age, many people already develop advanced damage to the blood vessels due to atherosclerosis. Primary prevention of atherosclerosis must begin early in life.

(Source: Stein EA. Statins in children. Why and when. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2001 Oct;11 Suppl 5:24-9.)

The sad thing about heart disease is that in most of us it is preventable (Roberts WC. Preventing and arresting coronary atherosclerosis. Am Heart J. 1995 Sep;130(3 Pt 1):580-600).