Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School



We each age at different rates, and to different degrees, and yet we experience many common effects of aging. Some common signs and symptoms of aging include:

  • Increased susceptibility to infection

  • Greater risk of heat stroke or hypothermia

  • Slight decrease in height as the bones of our spines get thinner and lose some height

  • Bones break more easily

  • Joint changes, ranging from minor stiffness to severe arthritis

  • Stooped posture

  • Slowed and limited movement

  • Decrease in overall energy

  • Constipation

  • Urinary incontinence

  • Slight slowing of thought, memory, and thinking (however, delirium, dementia, and severe memory loss are NOT a normal part of aging)

  • Reduced reflexes and coordination and difficulty with balance

  • Decrease in visual acuity

  • Diminished peripheral vision

  • Some degree of hearing loss

  • Wrinkling and sagging skin

  • Whitening or graying of hair

  • Weight loss, after age 55 in men and after age 65 in women, in part due to loss of muscle tissue.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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