Q:

How do you cope with the stages of aging?

A:

Coping with aging as a person moves through its various stages requires a holistic approach that deals with the physical effects of aging. Nutrition consultant Liz Ward for HowStuffWorks points out that physical aging takes place across many dimensions, affecting the anatomy, cardiovascular system, digestive system and metabolism of a person. Wise lifestyle choices, particularly regarding diet and exercise, are key to coping with the effects of aging.

According to Ward, aging results in a loss of bone strength and skin elasticity. To cope with skeletal issues, a person should stay active, perform regular weight-bearing exercises and take calcium. Skin issues can be dealt with by taking vitamin D and wearing sunscreen every day. Weight-bearing exercises also help the cardiovascular system to cope with the effects of aging as blood flow diminishes and arteries thicken. Eating a healthy diet that is low in cholesterol helps the cardiovascular system to cope with the changes brought on by age.

Ward points out that diet is also key to coping with the effects of aging on the digestive system. As people age, their bodies produce less stomach acid, making digestion more difficult. Lactose intolerance also increases with age, as does the risk of gallstones, diverticulitis and liver problems. To cope with these changes, older people should remove anything that causes gastric distress from their diets, cut back on alcohol intake and increase other fluids. In addition, metabolic changes due to aging often lead to weight gain and respiratory problems. Diet and exercise are important for coping with these changes as well.

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