Signs of early ageing: causes and prevention

Signs of early ageing: causes and prevention

Many people experience feelings of not being quite right in their body.  They may be tired, forgetful, having joint pain or stiffness, irregular bowel movements and more.  Often when these people go for a general check up or blood test or x-rays, the tests come back as normal.  Unfortunately, they still feel that their body is not right or that their body feels older than their actual age.  This is what we call signs of early ageing.

Signs of early ageing is becoming more and more common and they affect the quality of the  health of the person’s body as well as their life. This article will give you an idea of how to prevent or even reverse signs of early ageing.

1. Signs & Symptoms of Early Ageing (Do you have the following symptoms?)

Ageing is a natural part of life. Early ageing is when physical changes occur significantly earlier than the natural stages of the body.

i) Skin wrinkles, dry skin and weak or unhealthy looking nails;

ii) Stiff joints, mild aching (especially in the legs and feet) – the Chinese have a saying: “When you feel that your legs aren’t right, you’re getting old.”

iii) Tired & poor memory;

iv) Hair becoming grey or hair loss;

v) Insomnia or waking early, frequent urination during the night;

vi) Sluggish bowel movements, bloating;

vii) Around 40 years old the libido may decline and men may experience impotence or women may experience irregular periods and early onset of menopause symptoms;

viii) Eyes feeling uncomfortable, unclear or easily tiring.

2. Causes of Early Ageing

Chinese Medicine considers the following issues to be a cause of early ageing:

i) Environment – economy, environmental disaster, pollution, war or conflict;

ii) Genetic;

iii) Over-emotional and stress;

iv) Over-doing it.

As an individual, the first and second issues are not something we have much control over.  The third and fourth issues, however, are totally our responsibility and within our power to change.

Why does being over-emotional and stressed cause early ageing?  

Chinese Medicine considers excessive human emotions are strongly associated with the function of internal organs, especially worry, anxiety, stress, over-thinking, grief, fear and anger.  We believe:

– anger and stress can damage the Liver function;

– over-thinking, worry and anxiety can affect the Spleen;

– fear can damage the Kidneys and Urinary Bladder;

– grief can damage the Lungs.

I will give you some examples of how being over-emotional can disturb our health:

i)  When someone gets very angry and is fighting, they can become dizzy, their blood pressure rises, and it can even cause a stroke.

ii)  Sudden fear can cause urination.

iii)  When people become quite stressed sometimes they develop stomach pains.

All of these emotions, in excess, can cause an internal disorder of the organs, which can cause the following signs and symptoms of early ageing: bloating, sluggish bowel movement, lack of energy, stiff joints, stiff or tight muscles, insomnia, wrinkles or ‘worry lines’.  These people can develop the following conditions: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, insomnia, depression, high blood pressure, thyroid dysfunction, obesity.

Why does over-doing it cause early ageing? 

One of our very old Traditional Chinese Medicine books, Huang Di Nei Jing, mentions that over-doing it can accelerate the ageing process.  Over-doing it mainly damages the Lungs, Kidneys and Spleen and can cause the following signs and symptoms of early ageing: tired, weakness or stiffness in the lower back and legs, pain in the heels or feet, poor memory, grey hair, lower libido, impotence or early menopause, waking earlier and frequent urination at night while sleeping.

No matter whether we live in a rich or poor country, we can still see that some people live much longer than the average person.  Your health is in your hands!

3. How to Prevent Early Ageing

i) Be happy every day & avoid emotional upsets;

ii) Regularly socialise with friends and family, talk about happy things, which can release your pressure;

iii) Do regular physical activities, such as housework, gardening, exercise (especially walking, swimming, yoga and tai chi) – this can relax your nervous system and held your Liver and Spleen function and is especially beneficial for those who work in an office;

iv) Arrange your work schedule so that you’re not exhausting yourself;

v) Make sure you have enough time for quality sleep;

vi) There are certain things I suggest to eat regularly to increase the energy of your organs and relieve your stress: goji berries, Chinese red dates, green tea, lemon tea, peppermint tea, celery, carrots, oranges, lamb, beef, prawns, scallops, sea cucumber, walnuts, black sesame seed, bean curd, tofu (for further diet suggestions, please check my diet therapy article section);

vii) Here I especially suggest for retired people, find something to do that will use the brain and the hands.  This helps to avoid dementia;

viii) Pay more attention to your health and schedule regular health checks with your favoured practitioner.

If you are already experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, please see your experienced Traditional Chinese Practitioner for balancing. I hope this article helps you live a longer, happier and healthier life.

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Dr Ping Wang is the clinic founder and senior practitioner of Ping Ming Health. She has over 30 years of experience in traditional Chinese medicine teaching and practice. Dr Ping especially enjoys sharing her knowledge of Chinese medicine through our popular clinic articles, seminars and clinical training of students and practitioners.