How your hands change as you age
The anatomy of hands and functional biomechanics are extremely complex and undergo many psychological changes as we age. It loses its function after the age of 65 years old. One of the distinctive changes is the skin. The skin is the largest organ in the body and it is the foundation of the integumentary system. The epidermis is made up of keratin, hair, sebaceous glands, and sweat glands, while the dermis is made up of collagen. Mitotic activity and replacement of keratin in the epidermis in elderly adults is slower than in younger people. The skin cells are replaced every four weeks but as we age, eventually it loses the effective barrier, elasticity and volume and thus produces wrinkles, fine lines and creases. The wrinkles appear more vivid on the person’s face but the hand also started to follow the natural way of aging. You can seek our healthcare professionals to gain more insight. Visit Find doctor and choose medical experts from all around Malaysia.
Skin aging has two factors which are intrinsic and extrinsic. The intrinsic factor is genetically embedded inside the body. In contrast, extrinsic factors can change the fate of the cell for example poor nutrition, prolonged exposure to the sun, alcoholism or smoking. Aging process commonly develops as we are exposed to the sun. The free radicals from the sun penetrate the skin cells and destroy the formation of collagen inside the body. You can prevent the extrinsic factor through various ways, for example avoid the UV light from the sun by using sunscreen with at least spf 50. Retinol is also scientifically proven to inhibit collagenase synthesis and promote collagen production. According to one groundbreaking study, using sunscreen every day helps slow down the skin’s aging process by up to 24 percent more than those who occasionally use sunscreen.
The human fingertip has a special characteristic. It is made up of 750 cells per each square centimeter of skin coupled with 2500 receptors that give it a sense of touch. However, as we get order the number of receptors reduces and thus the hands lose skin elasticity. Telomeres, the specialized structures found in the eukaryotic cells at the ends of chromosomes, are integral because the human blueprint is stored in the dna. It is believed to play an essential role in the intrinsic ageing process at a cellular level. Intact telomeres are important to extend the lifespan of cells. As people age, the length of telomeres are shortened.
As people get older, they lose their ability to use their hands effectively. Everyday task, for example brushing teeth, holding a cup of coffee, buttoning a shirt or using a smartphone is very challenging. Impaired hand functions are also a sign of aging. There are many contributing behavior factors, for example lack of physical exercise, declining of physical activities and sedentary lifestyle may cause to impaired hand functions. Besides that, the ability to hand-grip will be difficult due to poor muscle strength as we get old. It’s a normal phenomenon for someone to experience a functional limitation and it’s not a sign of disability.
Any movement is accomplished by the action of muscle which is regulated by our nervous system. To move, the muscle gets the information from the brain, spinal cord, skin receptors and various sources. The motor neurons send the signal to the muscle and it is the final pathway that transmits all the information to the muscle. As people age, motor neurons start to decrease and hence the number of messenger cells decreases. The elderly adult also often experiences skeleton diseases for example rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Lack of nutrients, for example calcium can worsen the problems. Therefore, it is important to replenish the body with minerals to avoid diseases as we age.
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