Alternative Names age-related changes in organs, tissues, and cells
Definition Ageing causes normal, gradual changes in the body's organs, tissues and cells.
What is the information for this topic? The changes caused by ageing affect the entire body. These changes can be seen in areas such as the hair and skin. Unseen changes also occur in the internal organs and in cells. There are changes in the amount, type and location of tissue in the body. For example, with age there is more fat in the central area of the torso and less muscle in the legs.
The organs all slowly lose cells and some of their function. Ageing is a process that affects each cell in the body. As the body ages, cells in all the tissues and organs of the body change. These cell changes affect the tissues and organs over time. Cells slowly lose the ability to divide and reproduce as easily. Fat gets deposited into cells, tissues, and organs. This contributes to a loss of function over time. Tissues such as bone, muscle and skin become much less elastic and stiffer.
The body has many extra cells. The kidneys, liver, heart, and brain do not need all of their cells to function well. This is why people at first may not notice that they are losing cells and function. When enough cells are lost, though, the organs are affected. In some people, this can happen fairly early. Some people notice changes in their ability to think or exercise around the age of 50. Others do not notice these problems until they are much older. Any serious health problems can worsen or speed the decline in function.
As people age, they are less able to clear medications from the body. This is mainly due to a decline in liver and kidney function. Drugs may stay in the body longer and cause more side effects.
The exact reasons people show age-related changes are not clear. Most experts think a combination of genes and the environment contribute to these changes. No theory completely explains the changes that happen with ageing.
There are ways to decrease or slow the effects of ageing on organs, tissue and cells. These include:
getting enough exercise
avoiding too much sunlight
avoiding smoking and alcohol
avoiding exposure to dangerous materials
staying active socially, mentally, and emotionally
getting enough rest
Author: James Broomfield, MD Reviewer: HealthAnswers Australia Medical Review Panel Editor: Dr David Taylor, Chief Medical Officer HealthAnswers Australia Last Updated: 1/10/2001 Contributors Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request
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