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PSYC 357 (50)
Chapter 4


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PSYC 357
Wendy Thornton

CHAPTER FOUR: PHYSICAL CHANGES APPEARANCE (p. 64) Skin – most vulnerable to a series of age-related changes Three layers of skin: 1. Epidermis – outer most layer 2. Dermis – middle layer o Collagen – skin becomes less flexible o Elastin – becomes less able to return to its original shaper after its stretched 3. Subcutaneous fat layer o At a young age – provides the cushioning, giving the skin its opacity and smoothing the curves of the arms, legs and face o Starting middle adulthood – this layer starts to thin, and accentuates the changes going on the layers above it; exacerbates the wrinkling and sagging Other effects off age on skin: - Skin discoloration – most visible in fair-skinned people o Age spots – brown pigmentation known as “age spots” o More likely to occur in the sun-exposed areas of the face, arms and hands o Moles and angiomas (elevations of small blood vessels on the skin surface) - Varicose veins on the side of the legs - Toenails – grow more slowly and become yellowed, thicker and ridged o Fungal infections usually develop here -- causes the nail to thicken and separate from the nail bed - Changes in the face o Bone loss in the skull, especially the jaw o Changes in the cartilage of the nose and ears – they grow longer and change shape o Teeth become discolored due to loss of enamel surface; lose teeth o Eyes – eyebags, crows feet and the need for glasses Photoaging – caused by exposure to the sun - Age changes caused by radiation - UV rays accelerate the process of cross-linking, cause mutations that alter protein synthesis by the cells, and increase the production of free radicals Hair (p. 68) Hair color – Production of melanin slows and eventually ceases Hair thinning – results from the loss of germination canters that produce hair in the hair follicles - Androgenetic alopecia – most common form of hair loss with increased age o Causes hairs follicles to stop producing the long, thick, pigmented hairs known as terminal hair and instead produce short, fine, unpigmented and largely invisible hair known as vellus hair BODY BUILD (p. 69) HEIGHT - People get shorter as they get older o more pronounced in women o because of loss of bone mass in the vertebrae WEIGHT - Lean tissue, or fat-free mass (FFM) decreases and BMI increases - Pattern of body weight in adulthood is an upside-down U-shaped curve – middle-aged spread - Older adults lose pounds because they suffer a reduction of FFM due to loss of muscle mass, even if they maintain high levels of activity - 69% of older adults classified as overweight - Exercise helps individuals gain muscle and bone mass MOBILITY (p. 72) - Beginning in the 40s, each component of mobility undergoes significant age-related losses Muscles - Sarcopenia – age-related loss of muscle tissue o Reduction in the number and size of muscle fibers, especially fast-twitch fibers involved with speed and strength o Vicious cycle because with greater muscle loss makes exercise more difficult o Top preventative measure: resistance training Bone – living tissue - Loss of bone mineral content - As people experience decreases in sex hormones, they also bone mineral content - Further weakening occurs due to microcracks that develop in response to stress placed on the bones o Part of the older bone’s increased susceptibility to fracture can be accounted for by a loss of collagen, which reduces the bone’s flexibility when pressure is put upon it - Heavier people have higher bone mineral content, so that they lose less in adulthood - Bone loss is greater in women, particularly white women - Bone loss not a significant problem until the 50s or 60s - Environmental factors – people who live in climates with sharp demarcations between the seasons are more likely to suffer from earlier onset of bone loss Joints - Loss of arterial cartilage - The fibers in the joint capsule become even less pliable, reducing flexibility even more - Joints become more painful as more stress is placed on them - Resistance training in which people use weight machines can also increase the flexibility of the tendons, allowing the muscle to operate more effectively - Proper footwear effective in minimizing pain VITAL BODILY FUNCTIONS (p.76) Cardiovascular System - Left ventricle of the heart – chamber that pumps oxygenated blood to the arteries o Wall becomes thicker and less able to contract, causing a reduction of diastolic functioning; effect: ejects less blood into the aorta with each of the heart’s contractions - Women more likely to experience greater deterioration with age than men - Cardiovascular efficiency is indexed by… o Aerobic capacity – the maximum amount of oxygen that can be delivered through the blood o Cardiac output – the amount of blood that the heart pumps per minute - Short term training study findings on the value of exercise for middle-aged and older adults – maximum effectiveness reached when heart rate rises to 60-70% of maximum capacity, 3-4 times a week o Recommended activities: aerobics, jogging, hiking, bicycling, swimming and jumping rope o Not only does exercise help maximize the heart’s functioning, but it can also counteract the increased stiffness of the arteries o Enhances lipid metabolism – improves blood pressure o Increases the fraction of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), the plasma liquid transport mechanism responsible for carrying lipids from the peripheral tissues to the liver where they are excreted or synthesized into bile acids Respiratory System (p. 78) - Brings oxygen into the system and moves carbon dioxide out - Respiratory muscles lose the ability to contract and expand in the chest wall - Lung functioning decreases after the age of 40, and are more severe in women - To minimize the effects of aging on the lungs o Stay away from or quit smoking cigarettes o Maintain a low BMI  Obesity is related to poorer respiratory functioning Urinary System (p. 78) - Made up of the kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra - Kidneys are composed of nephron cells that serve as filters that cleanse the blood of metabolic waste - Nephron cells affected by o Smoking – can lead to serious kidney disease - When the kidneys are placed under stress, such as through illness, extreme heat, or extreme exertion , they are less able to function normally Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) – volume of liquid filtered through the kidneys - Most typically measured through creatinine clearance - Older adults are likely to have slower excretion rather of chemicals from the body Bladder - Elastic tissue of the bladder – may not be able to efficiently retain or expel urine - Men experience hypertrophy (enlargement) of the prostate that puts pressure on top of the bladder and can lead men to feel frequent urges to urinate - Urge incontinence – sudden need to pee, often resulting in urine leakage o Affects 30% of older adults over 65 years old o Not a normal part of aging - Overactive bladder – symptoms of frequent urination o Affects 25% of population aged 65 and older - Large majority of adults are symptom free - Pelvic muscle training is effective for this purpose Digestive System (p. 80) - Majority of older people do not experience significant losses in their ability to digest food - Decreases in saliva production - Fewer gastric juices are secreted - Stomach empties more slowly - There is a decrease in liver volume and blood flow through the liver - Smoking status and medications affect digestive functioning in older adults BODILY CONTROL SYSTEMS (p. 81) Endocrine System - Hormones – chemical messengers produced by the endocrine systems - Endocrine glands may produce more or less of a particular hormone - Highly sensitive to levels of stress and physical illness - Main control centers of the endocrine system – hypothalamus and the anterior (front) section of the pituitary gland o Hypothalamus-releasing factors (HRFs) regulate the secretion of hormones o Hormones produced by the anterior pituitary gland  Somatotropin – growth hormone (GH)  Thyroid – stimulating hormone (TSH)  Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)  Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)  Luteinizing hormone (LH)  Prolactin Growth Hormone – stimulates the growth of muscles and bones and regulates the growth of most internal organs - Affects the metabolism of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates - Somatotrophic axis – GH and IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) o In young people: GH production shows regularly timed peaks during nighttime sleep o In oler people: peak is smaller, possibly contributing to sleep changes - Somatopause of aging – a decline in the activity of the somatotrophic axis o Accounts for loss of bone mineral content, increases in fat, decrease in muscle mass as well as losses in strength, exercise tolerance and quality of life in general - Linked to joint pain, enlargement off the heart, enlargement of the bones, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart failure Cortisol – provides energy to the muscles during times of stress, “stress hormone” - Produced by the adrenal gland - Increase in cortisol o Body becomes energized and ready to react in a stressful encounter o
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