Aging mystifies us. In some, it provokes fear. In others, it provokes excitement. Overall, aging is something everyone thinks and wonders about at one point or another.
There is lots of misinformation out there regarding aging. As modern medicine and research improve, so does what we know about aging. Scientists are always reexamining our preexisting beliefs about our health and putting them to the test in new ways.
In fact, you might believe some things about aging that are not true. Keep reading to learn about four commonly held medical myths about aging.
Older People Should Not Exercise
Some people may believe older people shouldn’t exercise since they are more susceptible to serious injury. However, the opposite is true. Regular exercise improves bone density, muscle tone, and cardiac health. Keeping these bodily systems strong can help reduce the likelihood that an older person injures themselves.
Plus, a study featuring over 1,700 aging adults showed that regular exercise prevented early cognitive decline and diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Only Women Develop Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a common disease in elderly people. This disease causes the degradation of bone mass, leading to weak and brittle bones. It’s a common misconception that only women can be affected. Actually, osteoporosis can develop in anyone. However, it’s more common in those who are elderly, Caucasian, and female.
In an article published by the International Osteoporosis Foundation, they estimated that one in three women over 50 years old has the disease. However, the article also stated that one in five men over 50 will experience a bone fracture because of osteoporosis.
Dementia Is Inevitable
If you’ve ever hung out with an elderly person for a period, you may begin to wonder if a fading memory is inevitable. As people age, many will have a palpable change in their ability to recall memories and communicate.
However, dementia is not guaranteed in old age. Though many people may experience some decline in memory, very few actually qualify to be diagnosed with dementia. According to the WHO, it’s estimated that 5-8% of people worldwide who are over 60 have dementia. That means that a majority of those over 60 do not.
As aging continues, the chances of dementia increase. Of those 71 and older, slightly over 13% have dementia. However, this still shows the majority of those over 71 do not have the disease.
Quitting Smoking Is Pointless for Elderly Adults
Many hold the belief that past a certain age, quitting smoking no longer makes a difference in one’s life. This school of thought stems from the idea that any bodily damage that will be done by smoking is likely already there (assuming the person has smoked for years on end).
However, there are immediate positive aspects to quitting smoking that anyone can enjoy. Older adults who kick their smoking habit can enjoy a better sense of smell, less chest congestion, and better breathing within weeks of quitting.
There are many myths out there about what happens as we age! Thankfully, modern science has begun to dig into some of these myths and put them to the test. Overall, aging is not a bad thing, and much of the research today shows elderly people can stay healthy and happy for decades by following the right lifestyle and diet.