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Summary of Normal Aging Changes

Number of cells gradually reduced
Total body fat doubles
Bone mass decreased
Less total body fluid
Hair loss (male)
Loss of pigmentation of hair
Elongated earlobes
Loss of elasticity of skin
Loss of SQ fat
Temperature (oral) subnormal
Heart valves become thick and rigid
Aorta becomes elongated and dilated
Vessels lose elasticity
Head, neck, and extremities vessels become more prominent
Heart muscles loses some of its efficiency and contractile strength
Reduced cardiac output-decreased stroke volume
Ejection time prolonged
Baroreceptor less sensitive
Increase ventricular wall thickness
Pacemaker cells decrease and replaced with fibrous tissue
Less efficient oxygen utilization
Calcification of the costal cartilage-makes rib cage more rigid
A-P diameter increases
Alveoli reduced in number
Less lung expansion
Insufficient basilar inflation
Increased residual volume
Vital capacity reduced
Decreased ciliary action
Weaker respiratory muscles

Dentin production decreased
Poor fitting dentures interrupt proper nutrition
Root pulp experiences shrinkage
Gingiva retracts
Bone density in alveolar ridge
Taste buds atrophy
Loss of papillae and sublingual varicosities
Reduced saliva
Decreased esophageal motility and emptying
Esophagus more dilated
Atrophy of gastric mucosa
Fewer cells on absorbing surface of intestines
Lesser amounts of HCL, enzymes
Slower peristalsis
Neural impulses that sense signal to defecate slower and duller
Internal and external sphincter loses tone
Liver smaller in size
Pancreatic ducts dilated and distended
Renal mass becomes smaller cortical loss
Decreased tubular function
Stiffening and narrowing of renal blood vessels
Loss of 50% glomerular filtration
Bladder size decreases
Weaker bladder muscles
Prostatic enlargement
Decreased sperm production
Weakened pelvic wall
Atrophy of vulva
Flattening of labia
Loss of rugae and elastic tissue of vagina
Increase alkaline vaginal environment
Cervix atrophies
Endometrium atrophies
Fallopian tubes shorten and atrophy
Ovaries become thicker and smaller
Loss of nephrons of 1/3 to by age 80

Decrease in bone mass and mineral
Reabsorption of interior surface of long bones
Bones more brittle
Slow production of new bone on outside surface
Shortening of vertebrae
Slight kyphosis
Thinner discs
Slight hip, knee and wrist flexion
Deterioration in cartilage surface of joints
Decreased muscle mass, size, strength (fibers atrophy)
Increased fat, collagen, interstitial fluid
Tendons shrink and harden
Muscles atrophy
Loss of neurons, especially from cerebral cortex
Cells generate
Increased senile plaques
Decreased cerebral blood flow
Decreased nerve conduction velocity
Decreased functioning of hypothalamus
Increased serotonin
Brain loses water, weight and size


Lens becomes yellow, thick, stiff

Increased corneal translucency, flattened curvature
Lipid deposits around iris (arcus senilis)
Iris becomes rigid
Decreased production of aqueous humor
Impaired accommodation
Narrowing of visual field
Pupil sphincter hardens and size decreases
Decrease number of rods and cones in retina
Ciliary muscle decreases in size and mass
Light perception threshold increases
Corneal sensitivity diminished
Accumulation of bits of debris in posterior chamber

Increased cerumen
Calcification of ossicular structure
Decreased amount of fluid in cochlea
Atrophy of cochlea
Degeneration of vestibular structures
Tympanic membrane sclerosis
Decreased number functioning taste buds
Inefficient taste bud functioning
Decreased salivation
Decrease number of sensory cells in nasal lining
Fewer cells in olfactory bulb of brain
Decreased tactile sense
Thyroid gland undergoes fibrosis, cellular infiltration, increased nodules
Lower BMR
Decreased glucose tolerance
Decreased ACTH production
Decreased adrenal gland function
Less aldoesterone produced and excreted
Decreased cortisol production
Pituitary gland decreases in volume hormone decrease
Parathyroid hormone slightly increased
Gondal secretion decrease
Delayed and insufficient release of insulin
Decreased thymus mass
Decline in T-cell activity
Decline in cell-mediated immunity
Flattening of the dermal-epidermis junction
Reduced thickness and vascularity of the dermis
Degeneration of elastin fibers

Decrease in SQ fat
Melanocytes cluster
Decreased vibratory sense in toes
Decreased thermal sense
Diminished capillary flow
Number and function of sweat glands is lessened


The way you are when you are younger is how you will probably be later in life
If changes do occur, it can be due to physiological changes or life changes
example: Losses, etc.
Retrieval of information from LTM can be slowed
Immediate memory (within seconds) rarely impaired
Recent memory (24 hour to 1 week) may be impaired
Remote memory (many years earlier) usually no change
Usually no decline
Crystallized intelligence maintained
Fluid intelligence, which controls emotions, retention of nonintellectual
information believed to decline in later life
Decreased attention span
Abilities for verbal comprehension and mathematics unchanged
Learning not altered
Can be interfered with motivation, attention span and perceptual deficits
More cautious, hesitant
Will learn what they need to learn and are motivated to learn
Motor skill learning slower
Vocabulary increases
Attention Span
Decrease in vigilance performance
Easily distracted by other stimuli
Less able to perform tasks that are complicated or require simultaneous