study guide - MIDDLE ADULTHOOD Physical changes o Brain...

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MIDDLE ADULTHOOD – Physical changes o Brain changes – what happens to synapse (density decreases/deteriorate) After a period of stability across adolescence and the first decade of early adulthood, synaptic density beings to decline around age 30. The decline continues throughout middle adulthood and the later years and is accompanied by decreases in brain weight. However, it’s important to note that new synapses are continuing to form in middle age. Earlier in life, though new synapses form more rapidly or at the same rate as old connections are lost. In middle age, it appears, more synapses are lost than are formed (p 406). o Perimenopause (lack of sleep – not physiological) Hot flashes frequently disrupt women’s sleep; sets in motion a series of changes that are actually due to sleep deprivation rather than menopause Lack of sleep can lead to mental confusion, difficulty with everyday memory tasks, and emotional instability; thus, perimenopausal women may have the subjective feeling that they are “going crazy” when really the hot flashes are preventing them from getting sleep (p 408) o Climacteric vs. menopause and its expression in males and females (pre- menopause) Male climacteric (p 407) Extremely gradual w/ slow loss of reproductive capacity; rate of change varies On average, the quantity of viable sperm produced decline slightly, beginning at about age 40 Testes shrink gradually & volume of seminal fluid declines after about age 60 Slow drop of testosterone levels; loss of muscle tissue (strength); affects erectile dysfunction; higher rates of heart disease, obesity, use of BP meds, alcohol abuse, and smoking Menopause (p 408) Like puberty a single event 1
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Estrogen levels begin to fluctuate and decline Many experience anovulatory cycles – no ovum is released; though no ovum is produced, estrogen levels are high enough to produce periodic bleeding … lack of ovulation results in dramatic drop in progesterone menstrual irregularity associated with premenopausal period is due to progesterone loss rather than estrogen loss o Hot flashes (normal/physiological) “sudden sensations of feeling hot” Fluctuating levels of estrogen and other hormones cause a woman’s blood vessels to expand and contract erratically, thus producing hot flashes Temp of skin can rise as much as 1-7 degrees in some parts; core body temp actually drops Last about 3 minutes and may occur daily or as often as 3 times/hour Lack of sleep General light-headedness and shakiness o Normal aging In tune with the social clock? o Presbyopia (p 413) “visual acuity” By 45 or 50 years old Two changes The lens of the eye thickens – layer after layer of slightly pigmented material accumulates on the lens Cannot read print at the distance at which they can focused and are forced to wear reading glasses or bifocals
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study guide - MIDDLE ADULTHOOD Physical changes o Brain...

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