Effect of aging on respiratory system physiology and immunology.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

284 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

With the looming expansion of the elderly population of the US, a thorough understanding of "normal" aging-related changes on the respiratory system is paramount. The respiratory system undergoes various anatomical, physiological and immunological changes with age. The structural changes include chest wall and thoracic spine deformities which impairs the total respiratory system compliance leading to increase work of breathing. The lung parenchyma loses its supporting structure causing dilation of air spaces: "senile emphysema". Respiratory muscle strength decreases with age and can impair effective cough, which is important for airway clearance. The lung matures by age 20-25 years, and thereafter aging is associated with progressive decline in lung function. The alveolar dead space increases with age, affecting arterial oxygen without impairing the carbon dioxide elimination. The airways receptors undergo functional changes with age and are less likely to respond to drugs used in younger counterparts to treat the same disorders. Older adults have decreased sensation of dyspnea and diminished ventilatory response to hypoxia and hypercapnia, making them more vulnerable to ventilatory failure during high demand states (ie, heart failure, pneumonia, etc) and possible poor outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-260
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Interventions in Aging
Volume1
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

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Respiratory Physiological Phenomena
Allergy and Immunology
Respiratory System
Lung
Work of Breathing
Respiratory Muscles
Hypercapnia
Emphysema
Muscle Strength
Thoracic Wall
Cough
Carbon Dioxide
Dyspnea
Compliance
Dilatation
Pneumonia
Spine
Thorax
Heart Failure
Air

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this

Effect of aging on respiratory system physiology and immunology. / Sharma, Gulshan; Goodwin, James.

In: Clinical Interventions in Aging, Vol. 1, No. 3, 2006, p. 253-260.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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