Women

Ifs normal to have those clays when you feel old, but could your body be ageing too quickly?

Stiff joints? Vision not as sharp? Or maybe you're lost for words sometimes. Here, experts explain what to expect at different stages of life and which symptoms indicate you may be ageing too fast.

Eyes

30+

What's normal: From the age of 40, vision becomes less sharp as the lens loses flexibility, making it more difficult to read small print. "This is easily corrected with reading glasses," says Jared Slater, from the Optometrists Association Australia.

Needs to be checked: Blurred vision while reading, watching TV or driving.

Blurred vision while reading, watching TV or driving

50+

What's normal: The risk of cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration rises. "Every decade after the age of 40, the risk of developing an eye disease increases," says Slater. "But the earlier an eye disease is treated the greater the chance of avoiding long-term vision loss."

Need to he checked: Sudden blurred vision, which may indicate diabetes. Straight lines that appear as wavy lines in your central vision may be macular degeneration. Blurred vision and trouble with glare may be a sign of a cataract.

70+

What's normal: Glaucoma, which affects peripheral vision, and cataracts (the clouding of the lens inside the eye) are not unusual at this age, as is diabetic retinopathy. "Sore, tired eyes and blurred vision are common," says Slater.

Needs to be checked: Any changes to the appearance of the eye or changes in vision or eye comfort.

Looking after your eyes: It's important to have your eyes tested by an optometrist at least every two years. Use eye drops to soothe any dryness or Irritation. Wear sunglasses as UV radiation from sun exposure is linked to cataracts, eyelid cancer and pterygium - a tissue growth on the eye. Some studies show omega-3 fatty acids in fish or fish oil supplements prevent retina deterioration.

Ears

30+

What's normal: It becomes harder to hear a conversation against background noise. "Age-related hearing loss is caused by the gradual degeneration of hair cells in the ear," says Associate Professor Robert Briggs, of Melbourne's Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital. "They have delicate fibers that detect sound vibrations." 

Needs to be cheeked: Hearing loss in one ear, ringing in the ears or tinnitus.

Hearing loss in one ear, ringing in the ears or tinnitus.

Hearing loss in one ear, ringing in the ears or tinnitus.

50+

What's normal: Hearing loss becomes more noticeable in noisy environments. "You may struggle to hear female speech, particularly, because it's a higher tone," says Briggs.

Needs to be cheeked: Hearing loss in one ear or severe hearing loss.

70+

What's normal: Hearing loss affects more than half of Australians over the age of 60, so you may not hear all of a conversation. "Many people delay getting a hearing aid for vanity reasons," says Briggs. "But the older you are when you get a hearing aid, the harder it is to adapt to it."

Needs to be checked: Hearing loss in one ear, tinnitus or severe hearing loss. Looking after your ears: Avoid loud music and wear ear protection in a noisy environment. "Don't put cotton buds in your ear canal to clean your ears," says Briggs. Have a hearing test if you're worried about any hearing loss, he advises.

Memory

30+

What's normal: It's harder to acquire 'new' memory, so it will be harder to learn a new language. Sometimes you struggle to find the right word and forget where you left your keys. "General memory decline happens from around 30," says Dr Sonia Davison, endocrinologist at Jean Hailes for Women's Health.

Needs to he checked: Forgetting items of general knowledge or things learned through experience such as knowing you'll get burnt if you put your hand in a toaster.

It's harder to acquire 'new' memory

It's harder to acquire 'new' memory

50+

What's normal: "Information processing slows and your reaction time decreases," says Davison. This may cause you to forget appointments, or enter a room and not remember why, but long-term memory is usually intact, she says.

Needs to be checked: Not remembering family members, or leaving belongings in strange places.

70+

What's normal: "It's harder to remember personally experienced events from a certain place or time," says Davison. Driving a car becomes harder as it's more difficult to focus on a few things at once.

Needs to be checked: Forgetting family members, or when a normal daily function is affected by memory loss.

Looking after your memory: Studies show that exercise helps brain function. Untreated blood pressure problems, obesity and high cholesterol lead to vascular problems that can affect memory, so it's important to manage these issues. Discuss any family history of dementia with your GP.

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