process manifests itself within numerous organs. Central nervous (particularly
brain), immune, endocrine ad cardiovascular systems functioning are
impaired with age. Alternations in conjunctive and muscular tissues
are other familiar ailments common to ageing humans.
Brain damage due to ageing alone (as opposed to pathological ageing)
is minimal. Although the ageing brain may lose 100,000 neurons a year,
the brain seems to
for these losses. This compensation could be positively influenced
by intellectual challenge (by mental exercises). In fact, appropriate
brain stimulation may cause brain cells (neurons), to branch wildly.
This branching causes millions of (synapses), between brain cells and compensates cell
Ageing is also often associated with memory loss and learning difficulties.
Although certain aspects of learning such as task acquisition seem
to deteriorate with age, keeping the mind active aids effective learning
To perform your own memory .
Vision is a complex sense made up of the ability to see contrasts
and sharpness of detail, and to evaluate the location of objects
in the environment.
With age, eyes change. Among older people, can result from specific eye conditions, such as ,
and , or from a stroke. In some cases medication or surgery
are necessary to improve or prevent the worsening of vision-related
conditions; in others the prescription of corrective lenses can help older people to maintain or
restore their sight.
Age-related macular degeneration .
is associated with : words are hard to understand, another person's speech
is difficult to understand, especially when there is background
noise, certain sounds are annoying or loud, within the ear a hissing
or ringing is heard in the background.
(an ongoing loss of hearing linked to changes in the inner ear)
is the most common hearing problem in older people.
(a symptom associated with a variety of hearing diseases and disorders
such as a ringing, roaring, or other sound inside the ears) is also
Endocrine system ageing
system is particularly sensitive to age. Alterations may be due to
- diminution of the synthesis or turnover of most of hormones:
- impaired functioning of hormone receptors;
- defective binding between hormone and its receptor;
- premature programmed death (apoptosis) of hormone producing cells;
- cancerous transformations.
Endocrine system alterations are linked to the apparition of several
ageing related diseases such as diabetes, disorders in thyroid gland
functioning and sexual hormones deficiencies.
In ageing men, a progressive diminution of circulating levels of
androgens and testosterone is observed ().
This diminution is often treated by .
In women, female hormone production is progressively slowed and
finally stops (
It is treated by replacement.
To compare your laboratory tests with international standards use
Immune system ageing
The immunological theory of
proposes that alterations in the immune system contribute to the changes
associated with old age. With age, the immune system is thought to
become less efficient, with a reduced capacity to deal with infection
and a greater likelihood of
Although it is well established that the functional properties of
T cells decrease with age, its biochemical and molecular nature is
poorly understood. The available data suggests that changes in the
machinery are responsible for the impairment of function during ageing.
For further information about and ageing.
Cardiovascular system ageing
system is composed of the heart and blood vessels.
grows slightly larger with age and its s. In addition, as one ages,
blood vessels . Consequently, normal blood pressure and blood
pressure during exercise slowly increase as we age.
your own risk of stroke.
Conjunctive tissue and skin ageing
The dramatic changes in the appearance of the skin with increasing
age are due in part to a progressive destruction of the delicate architecture
of the components (,
(ROS) are a major factor responsible for connective tissue and skin
ROS are produced by normal cells (,
Their production is increased in response to environmental injury
(, bacterial infection, imbalance of the oxydant-antioxydant
state, smoking, and other factors in the environment). ROS are particularly
harmful to cellular components: proteins, lipids,
Mitochondria, which are the energy-producing bodies within a cell,
have their own genome. Mitochondrial DNA seems unable to counteract
the damage inflicted by ROS, because of the lack of repair mechanisms
and the proximity of the ROS production (in the inner mitochondrial
membrane). Mitochondrial DNA alteration results in cell inability
to produce energy, and to cell death.
You can learn more about ROS .