Discuss and explain the biological theories of aging.

Discussion Post : 

Chapter 3 – Biological Theories of Aging & Age-Related Physical Changes. 

1-) Question(s): Discuss and explain the biological theories of aging.

Guidelines:

· The answer should be based on the knowledge obtained from reading the book, not just your opinion.

· All the theories (corresponding chapter in textbook) should be mentioned and explained (mention at least three).

· The grade will be an average of all theories.

· APA Format. Time New Roman, 12 Font.

· All DQ submissions will be monitored for plagiarism.

BOOK: Ebersole and Hess’ Gerontological Nursing and Healthy Aging 5th

Author: Theris A. Touhy; Kathleen F. Jett
Edition: 5th

ISBN 13: 9780323401678 (978-0-323-40167-8)
ISBN: 0323401678 (0-323-40167-8)

Chapter 3

Biological Theories of Aging and Age-Related Physical Changes

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  • Are attempts to explain senescence or changes in the organism, leading ultimately to its death
  • Theories indicate that
  • Cells in the body become disorganized or chaotic
  • Cells no long replicate
  • Cellular death occurs

Biological Theories of Aging

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  • A rise in the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) damages cells and ultimately results in the cell no longer being able to function
  • The number of ROS is increased by external factors such as pollution and cigarette smoke and by internal factors such as inflammation
  • Damage appears to be random and unpredictable, varying from one cell to another, from one person to another

Oxidative Stress Theories

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  • Suggests that aging is a result of an accumulation of damage to the immune system, or immunosenescence
  • A chronic state of inflammation, combined with increasing number of ROS in the cells, appears to be a key factor in the aging process and the development of many health problems common in later life

Immunological Theory

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  • Growing evidence suggesting that ROS and free radicals alone do not trigger the aging process but lead to DNA mutations that cause errors in reproduction
  • Area of great research interest
  • Do telomeres have their own “biological clock?”
  • Is there a relationship between oxidative stress and the development of disease?

Aging and DNA

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  • Occur as a result of genetic (intrinsic) and environmental (extrinsic) factors
  • Epidermis
  • Thins, making blood vessels and bruises more visible
  • Fewer melanocytes result in a lighter appearance of the skin
  • Age spots or liver spots (lentigines) appear on the backs of hands and wrists and on the face
  • Seborrheic keratoses and thick, brown, and raised lesions appear

Skin Changes of Aging

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  • Dermis
  • Loses about 20% of its thickness
  • Dermal blood vessels are reduced, which accounts for resultant skin pallor and cooler skin temperature
  • Collagen synthesis decreases
  • Elastin fibers thicken and fragment, leading to loss of stretch and resilience and a “sagging” appearance
  • Hypodermis
  • Areas atrophy, causing increased sensitivity to cold
  • Sebaceous (oil) glands atrophy

Skin Changes of Aging (Cont.)

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  • Hair
  • Thins on the head
  • Increased hair in the ears, nose, and eyebrows
  • Loses pigmentation (graying occurs)
  • Women develop chin hair, and leg, axillary, and pubic hair decrease
  • Nails
  • Become harder, thicker, dull, and more brittle
  • Vertical ridges appear
  • Growth slows

Hair and Nail Changes

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  • Although not life-threatening, they can affect one’s ability to function and quality of life
  • Changes are influenced by many factors, such as age, sex, race, and environment
  • Changes
  • Ligaments, tendons, and joints become dry, hardened, and less flexible
  • Muscle mass decreases
  • Vertebral disks thin, causing a shortening of the trunk

Musculoskeletal Changes

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  • Cardiac
  • Left ventricle wall thickens
  • Size of the left atrium slightly increases
  • Maximum coronary artery blood flow, stroke volume, and cardiac output decrease
  • The heart takes longer to accelerate and then to return to normal
  • Vascular
  • Elasticity decreases, and blood vessels recoil
  • Veins become stretched, and the valves become less efficient

Cardiovascular Changes

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  • Respiratory problems are common but almost always the result of exposure to environmental toxins rather than the aging process
  • Changes include
  • Loss of recoil
  • The chest wall stiffens
  • Gas exchange is less efficient
  • Resistance to air flow increases
  • Effectiveness of cough response is reduced
  • Cilia are less effective

Respiratory Changes

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  • Changes are significant because of increased susceptibility to fluid and electrolyte imbalance and structural damage from medications and contrast media
  • Changes include
  • Kidney blood flow decreases
  • Size and function of the kidneys decrease
  • Urine creatinine clearance decreases

Renal Changes

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  • The impact of most changes is not clear
  • Changes include
  • Most glands shrink
  • Rate of secretion decreases
  • Increased insulin resistance
  • Rates of type II diabetes and hypothyroidism are higher in older adults

Endocrine Changes

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  • Women
  • Unable to procreate after the cessation of ovulation
  • Breasts appear smaller, more pendulous, and less firm
  • Ovaries, uterus, and cervix atrophy
  • Estrogen levels decrease
  • Vaginal wall loses its ability to lubricate
  • Male
  • Testes atrophy and soften
  • Ejaculation is slower and less forceful
  • Testosterone level reduces
  • May experience urinary retention

Reproductive Changes

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  • Mouth
  • Teeth lose enamel and dentin, making them vulnerable to decay
  • Taste buds decline in number
  • Salivary secretion lessens; consequently, a dry mouth exists
  • Stomach
  • Esophagus and stomach sluggishly empty
  • Decreased gastric motility and volume
  • Decreased ability to produce intrinsic factor
  • Intestines
  • Villi in the intestines are less functioning, which affects absorption
  • Peristalsis slows
  • Constipation is common

Gastrointestinal Changes

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  • Central nervous system
  • Brain size and weight decrease
  • Subtle changes in cognitive and motor functioning occur in the very old
  • Mild memory impairments and difficulties with balance may be seen
  • Performance of tasks may take longer
  • Peripheral nervous system
  • Decreased tactile, kinesthetic, and vibratory senses
  • Reaction time is delayed

Neurologic Changes

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  • Changes are both functional and structural
  • All of the changes affect visual acuity and accommodation
  • Near vision decreases, and the lenses thicken
  • Eyelids lose elasticity and droop
  • Color perception decreases
  • Lower eyelids turn out, and dry eye syndrome is common
  • Resorption of the intraocular fluid becomes less efficient
  • Decline in peripheral vision

Eye and Vision Changes

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  • Affect both the structure and the function of the ear
  • Appearance changes, especially in men
  • Ear lobes sag, elongate, and wrinkle
  • Wiry, stiff, course hairs grow
  • Ear wax is more thick and dry
  • Age-related hearing loss occurs
  • Primarily lose ability to hear high-frequency sounds

Ear Changes

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  • Changes result in an increased risk for infection in older adults
  • Immunity is reduced at the cellular level
  • Oral temperature is lower
  • Decreased response to foreign antigens
  • Immunoglobulins increase

Immune Changes

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In performing a physical assessment for an older adult, the nurse anticipates finding which of the following normal physiological changes of aging? (Select all that apply.)

Irregular heart rate

Increased salivation

Reduced muscle mass

Decreased lower leg hair

Diminished bowel sounds

Question

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C, D—An irregular heart beat, increased salivation, and diminished bowel sounds are not associated with normal aging

Answer

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A nurse performing a health history on an older adult patient determines that further follow-up is required for which non–age-related finding?

Early feelings of satiety

Occasional constipation

Seeing halos around lights

Difficulty hearing some conversations

Question

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C—Seeing halos around lights is not a normal age-related finding. It is a symptom of glaucoma, and follow-up is required.

Answer

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