Healthy Aging

Topics: Gerontology, Muscle, Ageing Pages: 7 (2719 words) Published: May 2, 2012
The aging body

As people begin to get older, many of their body’s systems, and the way they are able to function, begin to change. These changes within the body will affect how people are able to function. The changes occur because the cells and organs in the body are being changed. Although genes greatly affect how a person will age, and how long they will live, there are many things that can be done to help the body with these changes. A person can even prolong their life expectancy if they treat their body right. The functioning of the cardiac system is changed because of the increase in a person’s age. The risk of having a cardiovascular disease will increase as age does. A change in heart rate is one of the changes that this includes. The heart rate itself is usually not changed as a person ages but, if the body is under some kind of stress or the person is exercising the heart rate may be decreased. How the body responds to beta-adrenergic blockade also will reduce. Other things that are affected as a person ages are atrioventricular condition, arrhythmias,systolic function and disstolic function. There is also valvular changes.(Schwartz, 1999) The elasticity a elderly person’s heart valves and blood vessels may decrease. The walls of the vessels are thicker, and fat deposits get into them, so less blood can flow through them. The heart is also not able to pump out as much blood as it used to. There are some things that can be done to try and help balance out these changes going on in the body. These changes include, exercising, reducing salt, sugar, and fatty foods in one’s diet, and having a normal body weight. Also, quieting smoking can be a benefit.

The respiratory system of a person’s body is changed as the person gets older. The muscles that give a person the ability to breath usually will become weaker with age. Alveoli can capillaries within the body will have a decrease in number. These changes will cause the body to not be able to absorb as much oxygen. Because of this, the elderly may have a difficult time breathing in areas where there is less oxygen. They also may have a difficult time exercising. The lungs will also tend to become less elastic. This affects their ability to use oxygen, as well as the ability to cough and take deep breaths. Because of the changes occurring, the elderly will have a greater risk of fatigue and shortness of breath in the elderly. They also can become prone to get more infections. To help with these changes, a person may quit smoking and exercise on a regular basis. (Besdine, 2007) As the age of a person increases the amount of muscle and strength they once had will begin to decrease. The endurance and strength they once had for doing certain things they used to do will also decrease. The muscles they used to have tend to be replaced by fatty tissue. This may occur because less muscle tends to be used as a person ages. The amount of growth hormone, and testosterone in the body will tend to decrease. As a person ages their body fat will usually double. Exercising on a regular basis and eating a healthy diet can help improve the elderly’s strength and amount of muscle. (Besdine, 2007) The skeletal system slowly gets changed over the years. The bones will become porous and brittle. These changes occur because their is less calcium and density in the bones. Because of this, the elderly could be in danger of getting more fractures or injury’s to their bones. As a person ages their bones will tend to shorten as well.An elderly person may also have their bones become shorter. As a person gets older they need to have a healthy diet in order to keep thir bones strong and healthy. (Ferrera, 2011) There may be a gradual decline in the activity of the thyroid gland, as well as decline in the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin. As a result, there is a decrease in the body's ability to use fats and sugars and to convert them into...
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