Aging Essay 17

First I will talk about the physical changes in early adulthood. Developmentalists look at adult physical functioning and begin to ask questions about loss or decline of function. There are two types of aging primary aging and social aging. Primary aging is age related physical changes that have biological basis. Social aging is age related changes due to environmental influences, poor health, habits or disease. Adults in there 20’s and 30’s have more muscle tissue; maximum bone calcium; more brain mass; better eyesight, hearing, and sense of smell; greater oxygen capacity; and a more proficient immune system.

The early adult is stronger, faster and better able to pick up from exercise or adapt to changing conditions. In early adulthood the declines in physical functioning are usually not noticeable unless a person is attempting operate at the unlimited boundary of physical ability; for example a speed skater. There is a general loss of speed and strength with age. Younger adults are more physically active or more likely to participate in activities of jobs that demand strength.

The immune system has two major organs that provide two types of cells which are B cells and T cells. B cells fight against external threats by producing antibodies against bacteria and viruses. T cells defend against essentially internal threats such as transplanted tissue, and cancer cells. (Kiecolt-Glaser&Glaser, 1995) The T cell declines the most in quantity and effectiveness with age. The thymus gland shows to be vital to the aging process. The thymus gland is largest at adolescence and declines in both size and mass after adolescence.

Once the thymus is smaller it works less proficient so your body is less likely to fight off some diseases. So as you get older the more likely you could have diseases. The cognitive changes are at it highest in early adulthood. The rate of decline is slow as people get older, but there are factors for this. It could be the environment, and the person lifestyle and their genes. Verbal abilities grow during early adulthood spatial skills decline during this period. Intellectual abilities show no decline in early adulthood except at the very top levels of intellectual demand.

The rate of fluid intelligence ability closely matches the rate of decline in total brain size, suggesting a possible direct link ( Bigler, Johnson, & Blatter, 1995). Declines in fluid intelligence abilities- those tasks that are thought to represent the efficiency of the basic physiological process become evident (Salthouse, 1991). The same patterns of results were found in the study of memory as the pattern of fluid intelligence. The memory is fairly good in early adulthood and start to decline a little in the middle adulthood, decline much more in older adulthood.

These theories apply to my personal life because before I had my son I ran track and I didn’t feel any type of physical decline. After I had my son it harder to run and I’m slower. Then my metabolism was much faster with age and a child it has slowed down and it harder to lose weight. I am only 23 years old so I really don’t have much to relate to because I’m in my prime years. I believe in some years to come I will go through the decline the text speaks about. As far as cognitive theories I’m at my prime and my memory is very good.

I remember everything but I always had a good memory I have memories of me when I was 1 years old. As of yet my memory still remains at its prime. So I can agree with the text that in early adulthood is cognitive changes are basically none and I am at my prime. My observation of people around me as far as physical functioning I will take my dad and my mom. First my father as a young girl growing up he was in good health and condition but as he got older and did not take care of himself his physical and health condition decline which is social aging.

My father ate all the wrong food and gain weight which caused his knees to give out to the point where today he can not walk. My father also is 55 years old so on top his social aging he is also has his older adult decline. My mom and her cognitive changes have had a major decline. My mom when I was younger would remember a lot of things, dates and events. My mom now will tell you something or give you something and she would not remember. My mom is 56 years old so I feel that the text is correct when they say that with age you physical and cognitive functions decline.

The most surprising insight that I learned during my reading were that there were two different types of aging. Before I read chapter 13 I did not know that there were types of aging. After reading this chapter I learned that aging could be brought on by an environment I would not have ever thought this was a factor. After learning about it I could see how an environment could age a person. A person who is in an environment of poverty, violence and crime could age faster because of stress and always having to look over their shoulder.

Worry about were their next meal will come from. All this stress could lead to poor health. If there is too much stress you can get high blood pressure and many other things. Many of people who live in this area cannot afford to go to a doctor. So their risk for disease is greater because they do not have a professional looking at them. This was the most interesting insight for me in our reading for this week. The insight that I have gain is that the key to longevity is to be very healthy. You need to exercise regularly and eat healthy to help with longevity.

Exercise and eating healthy also allows sometimes for the decline of changes in physical and cognitive to be as bad as a person who does not take care of him or her. I believe that in life expectancy and life span that if you don’t take care of yourself you are not expected to live a longer life than a person who takes care of themselves in all aspects. Over your life span you have you physical and cognitive strengths and as your life goes on it declines. It also has many aging factors so if you could help your environment and the things that you participate or engage in it will help your life span is a little longer.