Why do these things happen as we age?

As we get older, many of us fight the most obvious signs of aging. It’s hoped that expensive creams will diminish lines on faces, or supportive undergarments will boost tissues back to their more youthful outlines.

But there are many signs of aging that we don’t even notice. For example, once folks approach middle age or beyond, they tend to get lightheaded and dizzy more often. Dizziness in its clinical form is often defined as ‘vertigo,’ a condition that causes its victims to keel over. This is not the typical trip-and-fall that creates the high statistics of fall injuries among seniors and the elderly; but it certainly adds to those statistics.

Among the many things that can cause dizziness and loss of balance is dehydration as well as prescription drugs. Look at labels for both prescription and over-the-counter drugs for any drug you may be taking. You will almost always see the words, “May cause dizziness.”

Another thing to keep an ear on: As people age, their voices become deeper, closer to a growl. At the same time, the mucous membranes through which the voice plays, get thinner and don’t hold the same amount of moisture, so those membranes become dry. The vocal chords lose some of their coordination and are no longer as flexible as they once were. This makes noticeable changes in the voice.

You may have noticed how older folks often bend their torso forward as they stand or walk, especially those who walk with a cane. There’s a distinct curve forward, almost as if the lower spine doesn’t have the strength to keep the whole spine upright. In a way, that’s true. Aging causes a natural loss of minerals, such as calcium. Important columns of supportive muscle, the spinal erectors, lose strength and bulk

The website, 'MedlinePlus' featured an article titled: "Aging changes in the bones — muscles -joints" (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/004015.htm). Among the many facts presented are these: "The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae. Between each bone is a gel-like cushion (called a disk). The middle of the body (trunk) becomes shorter as the disks gradually lose fluid and become thinner.

Vertebrae also lose some of their mineral content, making each bone thinner. The spinal column becomes curved and compressed. Bone spurs caused by aging and overall use of the spine may also form on the vertebrae.”

One of the most dangerous things caused by aging is the ‘foot dragging syndrome.’ Instead of lifting the feet a few inches up when taking each step, the feet are kind of dragged along the surface of the ground, which makes it easy to be tripped if a piece of sidewalk concrete is lifted up a few inches by tree roots.

This sign of aging can be easily fixed. Go for a special walk in which you concentrate intensely on ‘marching’ your feet—-lifting each foot at least six inches up with each step. It may take a while for the foot lifting to become a habit as you walk, but practice makes perfect here. Anything you can do to prevent a fall is good practice. Practice a lot and your ability to avoid a fall will become much closer to perfect than it is now.


Wina Sturgeon is an active 55+ based in Salt Lake City, who offers news on the science of anti-aging and staying youthful at: adventuresportsweekly.com. She skates, bikes and lifts weights to stay in shape.