The Aging Process: What Every Senior Should Know About Their Own Body

By November 5, 2012Healthy Aging

As seniors continue to grow older, their bodies begin to change in several unique ways. Understanding how the aging process affects each body system can give seniors a great advantage when it comes to prevention and overall health. Listed below are many of the physiological changes that can negatively affect seniors face as they continue to age:


Cardiovascular System Changes
• Decrease in blood vessel and heart valve elasticity
• Decrease in heart’s ability to pump blood adequately
• Seniors may feel fatigued, short of breath and unable to complete physical tasks


Respiratory System Changes

• Lungs lose elasticity
• Decreased ability to utilize oxygen
• Decreased ability to cough or breathe deeply
• Seniors may become extremely short of breath, along with becoming more susceptible to infection


Skeletal System Changes
• Bones lose calcium and density
• Aging creates brittle and porous bone within seniors
• Seniors, especially women, may become more prone to bone fractures or breaks


Digestive System Changes
• Digestive system gradually slows down
• Secretion of vital saliva and enzymes slows down
• Seniors may face indigestion, inadequate nutrient absorption and issues with elimination


Genito-Urinary System Changes
• Kidneys are unable to filter and absorb at peak performance
• Male seniors face issues with prostate enlargement
• Female seniors face hormone changes that are responsible for vaginal burning/itching, which makes intercourse extremely uncomfortable.


Skin and Hair Changes
• Graying of hair is one of most obvious signs of aging
• Hair begins to shed more often with an obvious decrease in hair thickness
• Skin loses elasticity and density
• Outer layers of skin lose ability to retain water
• Replacement of cells, barrier protection and wound healing ability all decrease
• Seniors face an increase in the incidence of skin tears and infections


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