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Physiological Changes in Old Age

Physiological Changes in Old Age

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Essays in Developmental Psychology


Randall Summers, Charles Golden, Lisa Lashley, & Erica Ailes


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Beginning in the third and fourth decades of life, subtle physiological changes start to occur with progressive decline as age increases. Some changes are visible such as wrinkling of the skin or whitening of hair, but the majority of physiological changes due to aging are internal. Many changes occur within the cardiovascular system. Boss and Seegmiller (1981) explain that with aging, cardiac output decreases as diastolic and systolic myocardial stiffness increases. These changes have been associated with increased blood pressure in older adults, leading to hypertension. This age-related change can be safely managed by antihypertensive therapy that is monitored regularly. In addition to these changes, lipid content of vessels increases, usually from increased cholesterol. While other factors play a part in myocardial infarctions, this change may increase the likelihood of myocardial infarctions in older adults.


age-related change, antihypertensive therapy blood pressure, cardiovascular system, old age, myocardial infarctions, physiological changes

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This is one in a collection of essays as part of a project that began as an encyclopedia of developmental psychology coordinated by Dr. Randall Summers. However, for unforeseen reasons, the publisher was no longer in a position to publish the encyclopedia. This project was undertaken so that thousands of hours of work by psychologists would not go wasted. Enjoy these essays and feel free to cite them using the proper format.

Submit suggestions for corrections and topics to goldench@nova.edu.

Physiological Changes in Old Age