overview of anatomy and physiology of an elderly person ( (• the brain…
overview of anatomy and physiology of an elderly person
Overview of anatomy and physiology
Ageing is normal physiological process, the elderly change often divided into three categories which are the young old from 60-74 year, the old from 75-85 and the over old which are over 85.
Physiological changes in the elderly
More stooped, with increase flexion of the knee and hips, head tilted forward, loss of bone structure results in narrowing of intervertebral spaces.
Loss of elasticity and reduced subcutaneous fat layer, resulting in wrinkled appearance, skin becomes thinner, areas of discoloration and spots which may become malignant.
Body water decreases, body fat decreases and lean body mass decreases
Chest structures are more rigid due to increased muscle and connective tissue rigidity. The lung capacity is altered due to reduced elasticity of the lung tissue. The number and size of alveoli decreases, and oxyhaemoglobin saturation is reduced.
• Heart valves become thick and more rigid, cardiac output reduces by 40%, and the heart rate slows with altered ability to respond to stress and activity.
• Blood vessels reduces elasticity and increases calcium and plaque formation occurs, venous valves becomes less efficient and veins dilate, resulting in sluggish blood flow and increased peripheral resistance
• Blood pressure increase as a result reduces cardiac function and increased resistance
• Teeth becomes more brittle, gums recede, particularly where teeth have been lost
• Reduction in taste buds and decreased salivary production alters taste
• Impaired muscular functioning results in decrease peristalsis and risk of aspiration, absorption and nutrition not significant altered.
• Reduced peristalsis and altered diet and mobility may result in constipation, formation of diverticular occurs.
• Kidney size and functioning are reduced resulting in decreased excretory efficiency
• Bladder capacity may decrease or becomes irritable, resulting in retention
• Benign hypertrophy occurs in older men, resulting in altered patterns of micturition
• Reduced hormone level and less effective musculature result in poor support of uterus and bladder, which may be reversed through exercise and hormone replacement
• male hormone level and sperm are reduced, libido unchanged but responses may be slower and erection difficult to sustain
• female hormone production reduces, resulting in atrophy of the vagina and endometrium ad cervix to become thick
• the brain slightly decrease in size, with reduced blood flow, results in inability to generate neurons, fatty deposits and senile plaques and tangles develop, with or without memory impairment
• deep tendon reflexes decreases, with slowing of reaction times, baroreceptors altered, affecting blood pressure control
• neurotransmitters are altered, resulting increase in potential for depressive conditions, decreases such as Parkinson’s disease due to reduced
• Structural changes in the pituitary, thyroid, adrenal glands, result in decreased hormone production.
• Insulin release and effectiveness impaired, although production appears unaffected
• Bone loss due to calcium absorption, hormonal changes and increased reabsorption rate; osteoporosis occurs and fractures are common
• Muscle cells lost are not replaced, atrophy occurs leading to reduced proportion of muscle to body weight
• Cartilage erodes and synovial membranes becomes more friable; wear and tear on the joints results in arthritic changes with poor mobility and articulation
• Decrease in vision
• Decrease in hearing
• Less effective due to reduction in T cell production and decrease in natural antibodies
Medical problems that occur in older persons are:
• Cardiac disease
• Diabetes mellitus
• Poor hearing
• Poor vision
• Cognitive deterioration
Functional impairments are:
• Intellectual impairment