Effects of aging on respiratory system
With the population of the elderly increasing daily in the United States. There is need for the
understanding of the changes that are related to aging on the respiratory system. The respiratory
system undergoes some changes with time. Chest wall and thoracic spine deformities are some of
the structural changes which affect the functions of the respiratory system thereby increasing the
work of breathing. Some of the parts like the lung parenchyma structure lose their support by
thereby dilation of air spaces arise. As one ages the strength of some of some parts like the
respiratory muscle decreases thereby affecting an effective cough which is very vital for clearing
airway. During the age of 20-25 years the lung matures. As the age progresses the functions of the
lung decrease. Also, again as the age progresses there I also an increase in the alveolar dead space
which has an impact on the arterial oxygen. The effect of arterial oxygen occurs without impairing
the carbon dioxide elimination. As age progresses the functions of the airways receptors also
change. Therefore, the drugs used to treat some disorders in the respiratory system are not likely
to respond. There is a very low sensation of dyspnea and also diminished ventilatory response to
hypoxia and hypercapnia in older adults, therefore this completely affects the ventilatory failure
during the time of high demand states and the outcomes may also be negative.
The median age of the United States population constantly increases. This therefore is
an indication of a clear understanding of the disease in states, the current interventions put in place
and the public health programs in place that end up being successful. The number of the aged is
estimated to increase by the year 2030 with the largest population being the age of 80years and
above. This is according to the united states census that was conducted. It is very vital to
differentiate from a normal aging disease when encountering with this category of population.
There are changes which occur in the respiratory system as age changes which include various
structural, physiological and immunological changes. At times, it becomes difficult to differentiate
a disease from a normal state among older adults. (Reich, P. B, 1983).
The thoracic cage, lungs and diaphragm are parts that are comprised in the respiratory
system. Lung and chest wall compliance are among the total respiratory system compliance.
Change in volume relative to change in pressure is what is termed to as compliance. The rate and
force of expiration is determined by the lung compliance and the elastic load which occurs in the
time of inspiration is determined by thoracic compliance. There are structural changes which occur
to the thoracic cage as aging progresses and this cause adverse effects on the chest wall compliance
wall whereby it causes reduction in it. Thoracic vertebrae reduce in height due to osteoporosis
which is related with the progress age. The ability of the thoracic cage to expand is reduced during
inspiration thereby placing the diaphragm at a position of being mechanically disadvantaged in
generating contraction that is effective due to stiffening of the thoracic cage from calcification of
the rib cage and kyphosis that is related with age from osteoporosis. The chest wall compliance
becomes lower as age progresses more so among the aged but the lung compliance at all ages is
always similar. There is higher residual volume with the lower ch...