PSYC 4070 FINAL
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
When growth stops,
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
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.