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PSYC_4070_FINAL-1 - PSYC 4070 FINAL Chapter 20 Adults of...

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PSYC 4070 FINAL Chapter 20 Adults of all ages (even those over age 65) are usually active, able, and vital, with specifics more dependent on habits and attitude than on age. One major advance is that priorities become clearer. When growth stops, senescence ( a gradual physical decline related to aging. Senescence occurs to everyone in every body part, but the rate of decline is highly variable. ) Two invisible aspects of aging are increased blood pressure and higher levels of low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol. Both of these occur to everyone over time, and both are harbingers of heart disease. Every known natural substance in the blood, every organ in the body, every bone and cell, is affected by aging. Outward signs of senescence are present long before old age arrives. The first visible age- related changes are seen in the skin. Collagen, the connective tissue of the body, decreases by about 1 % per year. As a result, the skin becomes thinner and less flexible, and wrinkles become visible, particularly around the eyes. Especially on the face, (most exposed to sun, rain, heat, cold, and pollution), skin shows “creases, discoloration, furrows, sagging, and loss of resiliency”. Hair usually turns gray and gets thinner; skin becomes drier; “middle aged spread” appears as stomach muscles weaken; pockets of fat settle in parts of the body. People even get shorter. Back muscles, connective tissue, and bones lose strength, making the vertebrae in the spine collapse somewhat. All the muscles weaken, not only because of disuse but also because the number of muscle fibers diminishes with age. The fibers for type II muscles (the fast ones needed to forceful actions in many sports) are said to be reduced by 26 percent per decade beginning at age 30. Decline is much less significant for type I fibers, those in slower, more routine muscle-and does not become evident until very old age. Breathing becomes quicker and shallower with age, lung efficiency is reduced beginning the 20s especially for smokers. Senescence varies from person to person, organ to organ, and particular parts of each organ may also be on different time tables.
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The change in eyesight is a prominent example. Difficult seeing objects at a distance, or nearsightedness , increases gradually beginning in the 20s. Within another 20 years or so, it also becomes harder to see objects that are close, called farsightedness , because the lens of the eye becomes less elastic and the cornea flattens. Younger adults with vision problems are usually either nearsighted or farsighted, most older adults are both. Losses also occur in hearing. People have more acute hearing at age 10 than at any later age. Actually, “perfect” hearing is impossible. Presbycusis (“aging hearing”) The loss of hearing associated with senescence.
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PSYC_4070_FINAL-1 - PSYC 4070 FINAL Chapter 20 Adults of...

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