1. Heart Palpitations
Changes in heart rate are part of everyone's life, and in many cases, a racing heart is a sign that you're a living breathing person. Increased heart rate is a normal hormonal response to increased physical activity, stress, or even emotions - it's a sign that your sympathetic nervous system is activated and your body is ready to act and defend itself. So, if you feel like your heart is pounding after a workout, a morning run, or a stressful situation, it's probably no cause for concern.
That said, an irregular heartbeat can also signify cardiovascular issues and even medical emergencies like a heart attack, so it's not a good idea to dismiss a racing heart completely. Cardiologists point out that heart palpitations that do not stop or worsen after a few minutes are a reason to visit a doctor. Likewise, if your heart rate increases many times a day during everyday activities like watching TV, especially without any apparent reason like being emotional or stressed, is a reason for concern.
2. You Feel Cold All the Time
Feeling cold all the time is another one of those side effects of aging no one warns you of. The thing is that, with age, the body's muscle mass naturally decreases, and no matter how much we exercise and how well we eat, the blood circulation is becoming less effective, too, and you may start noticing that your hands and feet always get cold. If this process is gradual, and there are no other symptoms that you've noticed, like sweating and sudden weight changes, you have nothing to worry about.
However, if you noticed that this symptom has developed rather rapidly, your hands and feet become pale and numb, or you experience sweating together with freezing even in hot weather, it may be a sign that something is wrong with your thyroid gland or cardiovascular system, and in this case, you definitely ought to visit a doctor.
3. You Can't Hear High Pitch Noises Well
It's strange that age-related vision loss is such common knowledge, but hearing loss isn't, even though it often starts much earlier than vision problems, with most people starting to lose some of their hearing as early as in their 30s. The hearing of high pitched sounds seems to be the first to be affected by age, and it's perfectly normal and nearly always happens.
Still, be mindful of your personal context, too, and assess the situation systematically. If the hearing loss is symmetrical and gradual, it's likely no reason to be concerned, but sudden hearing loss or hearing loss in just one of the ears is a different story and may warrant a trip to your GP.
4. You Forget Things From Time to Time
We live longer today than people ever did in the past, and with an increasing number of people with a lifespan of 80 and above, dementia and Alzheimer's disease have become more prevalent than ever before. This makes perfect sense, and raising awareness in the public regarding these neurodegenerative diseases is extremely important, but with a raised awareness also comes some confusion.
If you sometimes forget whether you left the lights on in the living room before leaving to work or not, that's perfectly normal, even if you're only in your early 30s or 40s. We must remember that our memory is affected by many other factors, especially stress, lack of sleep, or even a poor diet, so misplacing things or not remembering some information is perfectly fine most of the time. As Dr. Cleveland, a geriatrician, recently reported in an interview, “You’re stressed, rushed, tired, or you have one too many drinks. It doesn’t mean you have Alzheimer’s. It’s a matter of degree. If you forget where your keys are, that’s one thing; if you forget what your keys do, that’s another.”
So, if your symptoms do not involve repeated and fundamental memory loss and you're nearing your golden years, don't worry. You may also find that memorizing things becomes more difficult as you age and you may need more repetition and practice to learn new information and skills, and that's fine, too. The good news is, though, that older people are less likely to then forget the skill or information they learned compared to youngsters, so there is a silver lining to these age-related memory changes, too.
5. Your Knee Pops
Have you ever been told by your parents that you should stop popping or cracking your fingers because it will give you arthritis? I know I have, and to this day, I have negative associations with the sound of cracking joints, although I know well that in most cases, it's completely harmless. That said, our joints do tend to pop more with age, which can be because of the breakdown of collagen that happens with age, which is the main "ingredient" of cartilage and connective tissue and is crucial for healthy joints.
So, doctors point out that in some cases, popping joints can signify the beginning of osteoarthritis, and if you start noticing it more, it might be useful to start some sort of exercise regimen, to walk more, and lose some excess weight if you have any. But all in all, it's only if you experience popping joints accompanied by stiffness and soreness of the joint that it's a cause for concern.
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