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Am I becoming old and slowing down?

Q: I am a 54 years old man and have observed many changes in my body functioning. I am generally healthy and till date I do not have blood pressure, sugar or any heart problems. About a year ago when I underwent health check up, the report stated that people my age have 3% chances of getting a heart attack. The changes I have seen are - urine flow has slowed down considerably. It is as though there was a pressure pump before and now it is gravity flow. Penile erection is much less. It is not as hard as it used to be. In my mind I have lot of interest though. I feel as though the body machine has become old. There is a constant desire to feel young in my mind but I feel that the body is slowing down. Please advise.

A:You are indeed showing signs of aging. Please remember that 54 years is not old by current standards but neither is it the same as being 20 years. Let me address each concern.

  • As men age, the prostate generally enlarges. This results in a thinner urine stream, the need to wait for sometime before passing urine. Some people develop urgency, which is a sensation of wanting to pass urine urgently and if the person does not then they cannot hold their urine, nocturia or having to pass urine several times at night is another symptom and a sense of incomplete urine evacuation (where the patient passes urine and then feels like he has to pass urine again within a few minutes). If your symptoms are bothersome you can be started on medication, which will help with the above symptoms. Some people may require surgery to remove the prostate.
  • The penile symptoms you complain of is also an aging process. In the absence of any hormonal problems and as long as you are able to have sex, generally no treatment is recommended. There are tablets and other forms of therapy that can help with an inadequate erection.
  • The remarkable thing is that as we age the mind does not feel old but as you so aptly described the body seems not to be able to do what you could do years ago. While one cannot prevent getting old if you exercise, maintain body strength, eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep you can certainly feel physically younger than many who are your age.
  • The risk of heart disease being quoted as 3% is a low risk. Your physician obviously feels you are healthy but exercising, a healthy diet and adequate sleep will certainly make you function better physically.

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