Pablo Picasso once said, “It takes a long time to become young.”
It is certainly true that to help defeat the natural effects of aging, it takes time and effort. It also takes understanding.
At a recent educational seminar on helping to prevent and treat joint pain, Dr. Premjit (Pete) Deol began by explaining why aging can contribute to an increased risk of injury and pain. This is increasingly important to understand, given that people are living longer, and looking to stay active later in life.
“The aging process is a process that is not really clearly understood,” said Dr. Deol, who specializes in foot and ankle conditions at Panorama Orthopedics & Spine Center in metro Denver. “It begins at about the age of 30, and from that point on, you start to undergo changes both structurally and functionally.”
After the age of 30, bone density begins to decrease, cartilage proteins become less resilient, connective tissue becomes more rigid, and muscle mass decreases. Problems caused by these changes can be exacerbated by disease, injury and environmental factors.
“All of these things start to accumulate over time and they start to have an impact on how everything works within our bodies,” Dr. Deol said. “A brand new rubber band out of the bag stretches nice and easily. A rubber band that’s been sitting out in the sun, you try to stretch it and it tears. It doesn’t have the same elasticity. That correlates to what is going on in our body as we get older.”
That is why Dr. Deol encourages his patients to take the extra time and effort necessary to practice good health habits every day. Otherwise, the changes associated with aging can more easily lead to other health problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and weight gain.
Dr. Deol recommends a healthy diet and regular exercises, such as those recommended by the National Institutes of Health.