Aging is inevitable but looking old before your time is not. Many factors can accelerate aging, everything from smoking to a lack of exercise. But, fortunately, many of these factors are under our control. Here are five signs that you're looking older than you should, and what you can do about them. What do you think? Let us know in comments.
1. Your face has developed jowls and more wrinkles than you'd like.
Believe it or not, being thin may actually work to one's disadvantage as they grow older. Indeed, a study from 2009 found that losing as little as 10 pounds can age a woman by four years. Scientists discovered that plump cheeks generally make a person look younger. Yo-yo dieting appears to be particularly bad as the constant gains and losses in one's face can create deeper lines and jowls. For a younger looking face, try eating foods that are shown to be good for your skin.
2.Your eyelids are droopy.
Many things, including a common glaucoma drug, can cause droopy eyelids. No doubt this is a repercussion of aging; as you grow older, your eyelids will stretch and the muscles supporting them will grow weaker. As a result, a surplus of fat may collect above and below your eyelids, causing bags under your eyes and sagging upper lids. Short of surgery, there are a few things you can do to combat sagging eyelids such as getting more sleep, drinking more water and consuming less salt.
3. Your eyes are red.
Swollen or dilated blood vessels can make your eyes look red or bloodshot -- as well as old. Sitting in front of a computer all day, and not getting enough sleep, can cause redness in eyes. Putting a cold compress on your eyes for 10-minute stretches should help. But you should seek help from a doctor if you have persistently red eyes.
4. You can't hear as well as you used to.
Many experts believe hearing loss to be one of the main indications you're aging too fast. Hearing loss also can be a sign that one is developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Experts recommend seeing a doctor for help with hearing loss. Possible hearing loss treatments include the removal of wax blockage and hearing aids.
5. You wake up with cotton mouth.
Cotton mouth is when you wake up with an extremely dry mouth. The causes of dry mouth are numerous and include everything from medications and smoking to nerve damage and simple aging. However there are sprays that stimulate saliva production. You can also sip water, chew sugar-free gum and limit your caffeine intake to treat dry mouth.
Earlier on HuffPost50:
Exercising does more than improve your exterior. Several studies have found <a href="http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/phys-ed-how-exercising-keeps-your-cells-young/" target="_hplink">an active lifestyle keeps your cells young</a>, according to <em>The New York Times.</em>
Eat Carrots, Pumpkin and Squash
These orange veggies are chock full of the phytonutrient alpha-carotene, which <a href="http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-alpha-carotene-112310,0,2855017.story" target="_hplink">lowered the risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular diseases</a> in a study, according to <em>The Los Angeles Times</em>.
Avoid Too Much Sun
Sun worshippers, take heed: Between <a href="http://www.who.int/uv/faq/skincancer/en/index1.html" target="_hplink">two and three million people are diagnosed with skin cancer</a> globally each year, according to the World Health Organization. With May being Skin Cancer Awareness Month, <a href="http://www.thirdage.com/skin/skin-cancer-awareness-month">Third Age has tips on how to avoid the "potentially fatal cancer."</a>
A ring-a-ding-ding! Dr. Braverman of <em>The Doctors</em> suggests <a href="http://www.thedoctorstv.com/main/content/Anti_Aging" target="_hplink">having sex at least two times a week to help "reboot the brain</a>."
Take Your Omega-3s
Studies suggest that foods rich in this fatty acid may reduce your risk of Alzheimer's.
The Computer-Exercise Combo
<em>Huff/Post50</em> recently reported on a study that had subjects <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/01/preventing-memory-loss_n_1465789.html?ref=fifty&ir=Fifty&just_reloaded=1">do moderate exercise and use a computer, which resulted in increased memory function</a>.
Up Your Glutathione Intake
<a href="http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/quality-life-concierge/2012/apr/16/glutathione-anti-aging-machine/">Glutathione is a rock-star antioxidant found in the body's cells</a> that "neutralizes harmful free radicals," and keeps cells running smoothly, <a href="http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/glutathione-new-supplement-on-block" target="_hplink">according to WebMD</a>. To attain these benefits, eat a diet loaded with fruits and vegetables.
Own A Pet
While there are conflicting reports on whether or not pets will add years to your life, it is confirmed that <a href="http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/rethinking-the-value-of-pets/" target="_hplink">pets can ease stress and lower blood pressure</a>, <em>The New York Times</em> reports.
Limit Sugar Intake
A spoonful of sugar may make the medicine go down, but it also "<a href="http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/02/11437/societal-control-sugar-essential-ease-public-health-burden" target="_hplink">changes metabolism, raises blood pressure, critically alters the signaling of hormones and causes significant damage to the liver</a>," according to three doctors at the University of California at San Francisco. In a <a href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v482/n7383/full/482027a.html" target="_hplink">recent issue of Nature</a>, they argued that the health hazards of sugar are similar to those related to drinking too much alcohol.