6 Facts About Aging Everyone Should Know -- But Doesn't

Aging, they say, isn't for the weak. Here are some aging facts that we all should know and in many cases, don't:

Sometimes, you will get floaters.
Eye floaters are spots in your field of vision. Floaters are one of those minor, albeit annoying, health issues that comes with age. But since they don't get much in the way of media attention you may not be aware of them, and as a result, the first time you get them they likely will scare the bejeezus out of you and cause you to think "This the big one."

Floaters are not the big one. According to the Mayo Clinic, eye floaters generally look like black or gray specks, strings or cobwebs. They move around when you shift your vision. They are caused by age-related changes that occur as the jelly-like substance (vitreous) inside your eyes becomes more liquid. When this happens, microscopic fibers within the vitreous clump together and can cast tiny shadows on your retina, which you may see as eye floaters, says the Mayo Clinic.

You may increase your panic level if your floaters increase in number, you lose your peripheral vision or you start seeing flashes of light. In those cases, get help immediately.

The "use it or lose it" mantra applies to many body parts, including your brain.
"Use it or lose it" has long been our beacon of guidance for all things aging. Keep exercising to keep your bones and muscles strong; don't exercise and you will become frail faster. And now researchers have linked what we do with our brains with the long-term risk for dementia. Those who are more mentally active or maintain an active cognitive lifestyle throughout their lives are at lower risk, writes Science Daily.

Here's a crazy thought before you reach for the book of crossword puzzles: Could increased reliance on things like GPS systems and mobile phone address books mean less exercise for the part of your brain that helps you recall things or determine spacial orientation? Instead of turning over your brain functions to a computer, try dialing phone numbers from memory or do your marketing without a list. For extra credit points, figure out how to get somewhere using a map. So retro, right?

Stroke symptoms are different in women than men.
Most of us know the common signs of stroke: one side of the face droops, speech is slurred. But what you may not know is that women suffering a stroke frequently have other symptoms, including sudden face and limb pain, nausea, general weakness, chest pain, shortness of breath and palpitations, according to the National Stroke Association.

Knowing what to look for speeds up recognition of the problem.

When it comes to strokes, speed is of the essence.
If you suspect someone may be having a stroke, call 911 and get them evaluated pronto! There is an FDA-approved clot-buster drug that can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke, but only if it is administered within three hours of the first symptom. Err on the side of safety and get them to the nearest emergency room.

Bunions don't heal on their own and will only get worse if left untreated.
Bunions are those bumps on the joint at the base of your big toe. They form when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place, pushing the big toe toward the others and causing an often painful lump of bone on the foot. Because this joint carries a lot of the body's weight while walking, bunions can cause extreme pain if left untreated. Eventually, wearing shoes becomes difficult or even impossible, says the American Podiatric Medical Association.

While you can't cure bunions, wider shoes with support will make them -- and you -- feel better. Hence the expression was born: old lady shoes. The first company to manufacture a stylish comfort shoe deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

Your teeth won't betray you as long as you treat them well, but watch out for those gums.

For the most part, our teeth are resistant to cracks and chips. And they do not become more brittle with age. They do require care, of course, to reduce plaque buildup. But it's untreated periodontal disease that may be the bigger problem.
Almost 20 percent of people age 65 and older have periodontal disease. Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults, said the American Academy of Periodontology.

As part of the aging process, your gums might pull back from your teeth, which result in your teeth and gums becoming more vulnerable to decay and infection.



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