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Chapter 4

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Simon Fraser University
PSYC 357
Dagmar Bernstein

Psych 357 ch4 (Physical and sensory changes in adulthood and old age) • According to biopsychosocial model changes in physical functioning interact w/psychological processes and social context o Changes that occur in our bodies reflect social factors such as class, race, gender (these factors also affect how we interpret physical changes) • Appearance: outward appearance first cue for guessing someone’s age o Face, hands, hair, teeth all cues o Skin: wrinkling and sagging skin start in 20s and 30s, number and depth of wrinkles increase, skin loses resilience and becomes more translucent so can see veins and bones  Epidermis (outer layer), dermis (middle), subcutaneous fat inner layer • w/increasing age cells in epidermis lose regularity and become more disorganized in arrangement • most significant change is dermis (composed of collagen- protein that supports skin cells, elastin that helps w/elasticity) o skin doesn’t return to unstretched state quite as well anymore, sebaceous glands (lubricate skin w/oils) become less active so skin drier and more vulnerable to chafing • subcutaneous fat thins in middle adulthood (goes to fatty deposits in your torso) • age spots (Lentigo senilis)= areas of brown pigmentation on sun exposed areas, pigmented outgrowths develop (moles) and elevate small blood vessels (angiomas) o capillaries and arteries may become dilated and in general are more visible b/c loss of subcutaneous fat o varicose veins=large irregularities in blood vessels  nail growth slows, becomes yellowed (esp toenails)  face shape changes, bone loss in skull (particularly jaw), teeth discoloured, tooth loss (less problematic now with better dental care) • tooth loss related to lower education level  eyes: needing glasses, areas around eyes baggy b/c of accumulation of fat, fluid and dark pigmentation • less likely to blush/show skin sensitivity  genetic background affects rate of aging, fair skinned ppl age more rapidly • Photoaging= age changes caused by exposure to sun’s harmful radiation o Stay out of sun, don’t smoke  Best= moisturizer on daily basis to counteract fragility, sensitivity and dryness • Use of Alpha-hydroxy acid agents as addition to basic moisturizer can stimulate cell growth and renewal to offset sun damage • Vitamin A (retinol) antiwrinkle agent b/c helps preserve collagen matrix (tho is unstable chemical compound so unpleasant side effects such as redness)  Botox also popular (nerve poison and paralyzes muscle and relaxes skin/temporarily reduces wrinkle) • Or facelifts (surgical) • Artificial fillers, laser resurfacing tx, microdermabrasion o Hair= grey hair b/c loss of pigmentation in hairs as production of melanin ceases  Thinning of hair more in men but does happen to women too • Results from destruction of germination centers that produe the hair in hir follicles o Most common form of hair loss is male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia)  95% adult men and 20% women  In this form hair follicles stop producing the long, thick, pigmented hairs kown as terminal hair and instead produce short, fine unpigmented hair and largely invisible hair known as Vellus hair • Stops on head, starts on chin (women) ears and eyebrows • Body build: o We get shorter as we age (b/c of loss of bone material in vertebrae that leads the spine to collapse and shorten o Fat-free mass (FFM)= index amount of lean tissue in body and Body mass index (BMI)= index of body fat that =weight (kg) divided by height (in meters) squared  Ideal bmi= 23 in men and 21 in women  Total body weight increases from 20s to mid 50s then declines, most weight gain thru middle adulthood increase in bmi (fat around weight and hips, Middle aged spread)  Anorexia of aging= loss of FFM b/c of inadequate food intake (happens b/c of hormonal changes in hunger regulation)  Regular aerobic activity to maintain muscle tone and reduce fat deposits, 15-90 minutes a day of activity • Resistance training in particular can help offset age losses in bone content o Vigorous walking, jogging, or cycling for 30-60 minute a day, 3-4 days a week • Important to exercise and feel good about self/body even when you’re older • Mobility: o All of bones, joints, tendons, ligaments undergo age related changes o Muscles: Sarcopenia (progressive loss of muscle mass)  Reduction in number and size of muscle fibers (esp fast twitch ones for speed/strength)  As muscle mass decreases is first replaced by connective tissue, then by fat (1- 2% per year of loss)  Gender variations, men more pronounced loss, black women lose muscle at lower rate • Rates (at least for women) can be reduced by exercise 3+ times a week  Muscle strength peaks in 20s/30s and plateaus until 40s/50s then declines at faster rate of 12-15% per decade  Muscular endurance however is generally maintained thru adulthood  Also relatively minor effects on eccentric strength (lowering arm wweights, slowing down while walking and going down stairs) • Eccentric strength preserved thru 70s and 80s in men and women  Muscle mass changes don’t completely predict age related reductions in strength in adulthood • Seem ot be disruptions in signlas the nervous system sends to muscles telling them to contract (increased tendon stiffness also contributes to reducted muscle strength)  Strength training number one preventative measure to counteract Sarcopenia o Bones:  Bone is living tissue that constantly reconstructs itself thru bone remodelling (old cells destroyed and replaced by new cells) • General pattern of bone dev in adulthood involves increase in rate of bone destruction compared to renewal and greater porosity of the calcium matrix loss of bone mineral content results) o Remodelling process that leads to these changes is controlled by protein like substances that act on the bone cells (under influence of Estrogen and Testosterone) o So as ppl decrease sex hormones w/age, also decrease bone mineral content • Further weakening b/c of microcracks from stress in bones, decrease in collagen (flexibility and give) • Bone loss at different rates, genetic factors? Heavier ppl w/higher bone mineral content o Greater fat mass related to higher loss of bone mineral content o Ppl in rural areas have higher bone density than ppl in urban o Greater bone loss in women, esp whites o Bone loss not really problematic until 50s/60s o We can slow down bone loss: don’t smoke, don’t use alcohol eavilty, have a good diet, exercise, resistance training, high protein intake, increased calcium and vitamin D intake and magnesium  Big temp difs b/w seasons also bad for bones o Joints:  By 20s/30s arterial cartilage that protects joints has already begun to defenerate and bone underneath wears away • Outgrowths of cartilage being to develop and interfere w/smooth movement of bones against each other • Fibers in joint capsule become less pliable, further reducing flexibility • Joins don’t benefit from constant use (like muscles do)- they lose flexibility and become more painful when we stress them • Exercise can’t compensate for/prevent joint changes • Strength training that focuses on muscles that support joints can help, increase tendon flexibility w/resistance training • Obesity (and associated increased weight0 contributes to join pain/stiffness so should also try to reduce body fat o Als flexibility training • When young, take precautions such as: proper footwear (esp during exercise), minimize repetitive strain injuries, exercise • Vital bodily functions o Cardiovascular system:  Changes begin in middle age in heart and arteries • Heart walls become thicker and less compliant over time so less blood into aorta w/each contraction • Arteries less able to accommodate blood flow, also deposits of plaque in arterial walls consisting of cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium and fibrin (clotting material in blood) • 1 Aerobic capacity= maximum amount of oxygen taht can be delivered thru blood • 2 Cardiac output= amount of blood the heart pumps every minute o These 2 to determine cardiovascular efficiency o Both declince about 10% per decade from age 25, more pronounced decline in men • Exercise doesn’t stop biological clock from running, but can slow it down by benefiting functional capacity, lifestyle and control over body mass o Avoid cigarette smoking too • For exercise to be maximally effective it must stimulate heart to rise 60- 75% of maximum capacity and this training for 3-4 times a week o Ie walking, hiking, jogging, biking, swimming, roller skating  High density lipoproteins (HDLs)- exercise increases the fraction of these • They are plasma lipid transport mechanisms responsible for carrying lipids from peripheral tissues to liver where they’re excreted or synthesized into bile acids o Beneficial to have high HDLs and low level of low density lipoproteins (LDLs) o Exercise helps cholesterol, smoking does not o Respiratory system= funcionts to bring oxygen into body and move carbon dioxide out  Respiratory system muscles lose ability to expand and contract chest wall, lung tissue itself also less able to expand and contract during inspiration and expiriation • Women more affecte than men • Exercise to strengthen chest walls and thereby compensate somewhat • Can’t overcome changes in lung tissue itself w/exercise • Don’t smoke and maintain low BMI to preserve respiratory function o Urinary system: to rid body of cellular metabolism byproducts  Kidney, bladder, ureters, urethra  Kidneys=nephron cells that are millions of tiny filters of blood as it passes thru and gets cleansed of metabolic waste  Cigarette smoking can also affect kidneys • Illness, extreme exertion or extreme heat also hinders functioning  Slower excretion rates as we age, be esp careful w/medications we take  Bladder loses elastic tissue so can’t efficiently retain/expel urine antmore • Perception that need to pee tho bladder itself doesn’t shrink in size in normal aging  Men- hypertrophy (overgrowth) of prostate (puts pressure on bladder and then feel frequent need to pee)  Urge/Urinary incontinence= sudden need to urinate and unable to resist • Overactive bladder= urge incontinence but chief symptom is urinary frequency  Associated psychological problems (embarrassment) • Falls associated w/trying to make a quick getaway to bathroom • Medications to help tx bladder problems, also pelvic muscle training effective (contract and relax urinary sphincters for 1 minute at a time) o Digestive system= most older ppl don’t actually have issues w/ability to digest food  Less saliva produced, less gastric juice needed, stomach empties more slowly, decrease ni liver volume and blood flow thru liver  Fecal incontinence not that common, can train ppl w/coping methods and behavioural controls • Bodily control systems: o Endocrine system: send out hormones as chemical messengers  May release more or less of some hormones, target organs may respond differently  Very sensitive to stress/illness  Hypothalamus and anterior section of pituitary gland main control centers  Hypothalamus releasing factors (HRFs) produced by hypothalamus regulate secretion of hormones in turn produced by anterior pituitary • HRFs not only source of stim for pituitary hormones, also signals from target organs or nervous system  Anterior pituitary produces 6 hormones= thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), growth hormone (GH) and prolactin  Growth hormone: in youth GH stimulates growth of bones and muscles and thru life affects the metabolism of proteins, lipids and carbs • Related hormone produced by liver (IGF-I) stimulates muscle cells to increase size and number • Together GH and IGF-I called Somatogropic axis o Their
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