We all knew to expect hot flashes, maybe even some prostate issues. But nobody ever warned us about these aging-related things:
1. You will want to nap more.
Naps, it turns out, aren’t just for cranky toddlers. It is popularly believed that our need for them returns, in earnest, in our later years. But while you may feel the need to sleep through the NFL game on TV every Sunday, that’s not related to aging. The core of the problem is more likely your inability to sleep at night.
People over 65 can take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep. They often sleep less deeply and wake up during the night. Many older adults get sleepier earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning. But poor sleep and the need to nap are not symptoms of aging; they are symptoms of something else going on with your body that is preventing you from sleeping. It’s vital to figure out what that something else is. Sleep patterns change as we age, but disturbed sleep and waking up tired every day are not part of normal aging. People over 65 need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults — seven to nine hours a night.
2. Your face can still break out like a teenager’s.
While most aging skin tends to dry out, adult acne can be a case of junk-in/junk-out. Like with teenagers, breakouts in adults can often be traced to hormonal fluctuations. Acne is a clogged follicle or pore. It begins when the pore is blocked and the sebum or oil in your skin can’t work its way out. Bacteria forms, followed by inflammation. Adult acne can sometimes be triggered by hormonal shifts, food and improper cleansing that allows oil buildup.
3. Cataract surgery is a treatment of last resort, even if you hate wearing glasses.
You probably bought your first pair of drugstore reading glasses somewhere around age 50. From there, you wound up with the optometrist recommending you wear glasses when you drive. And then somewhere around 62, you realize that you have an assortment of eyewear for computer use, reading, watching TV, driving at night and driving during the day. You have glasses on every horizontal surface, and generally have a pair stuck on top of your head. You never go anywhere without your glasses and wonder why you can’t just go and have cataract surgery done — like now — to be able to see once again.
Well, you can’t. A cataract generally starts very small and grows gradually larger and cloudier. Doctors prefer to wait until the cataract interferes significantly with your vision and lifestyle. Some cataracts never really reach the stage where they should be removed. If your cataract is interfering with your vision to the point where it feels unsafe to drive, or doing everyday tasks is difficult, then it’s time to discuss surgery with your doctor. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed type of surgery in the United States; it just isn’t done lightly.
4. Hot flashes can last until you are 65.
A recent study found that 42 percent of women 60 to 65 years old still have menopausal hot flashes. For many, the hot flashes are occasional and mild, but for some, they remain really troublesome, said the study published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). Sexual symptoms also remain a problem for more than half these older women. The study included 2,000 women aged 40 to 65.
5. If you are older, this winter has been really cold.
In between those never-ending hot flashes, older people really feel the cold — which hasn’t made this winter all that wonderful for them. Sometimes, it’s a sign of a medical problem like hypertension or diabetes. Sometimes drugs, like beta blockers, decrease the heart rate which can reduce blood circulation to hands and feet. Thyroid conditions also can impact people’s ability to regulate their body temperature.
But healthy older people feel colder too. Older people are more likely to have slightly colder body temperatures than younger ones.
What do you think? What about aging has surprised you? Let us know in comments.