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Aging changes in organs, tissues, and cells

All vital organs begin to lose some function as you age during adulthood. Aging changes occur in all of the body's cells, tissues, and organs, and these changes affect the functioning of all body systems. Living tissue is made up of cells. There are many different types of cells, but all have the same basic structure. Tissues are layers of...

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  • Aging changes in nails

    Aging changes in nails

    The nails change with aging, growing more slowly, and becoming dull and brittle. The color may change from translucent to yellowed and opaque. Nails, especially toenails, may become hard and thick and ingrown toenails may be more common. The tips of the fingernails may fragment. Sometimes, lengthwise (longitudinal) ridges will develop in the fingernails and toenails. This can be a normal aging change. However, some nail changes can be caused by infections, nutritional problems, trauma, and other problems.

    Aging changes in nails

    illustration

  • Aging changes in hearing

    Aging changes in hearing

    With aging, ear structures deteriorate. The eardrum often thickens and the inner ear bones and other structures are affected.

    Aging changes in hearing

    illustration

  • Changes in face with age

    Changes in face with age

    With aging, the outer skin layer (epidermis) thins even though the number of cell layers remains unchanged. The number of pigment-containing cells (melanocytes) decreases, but the remaining melanocytes increase in size. Aging skin thus appears thinner, more translucent. Age spots or liver spots may appear in sun-exposed areas. Changes in the connective tissue reduce the skin's strength and elasticity. This is known as elastosis and is especially pronounced in sun-exposed areas.

    Changes in face with age

    illustration

  • Changes in skin with age

    Changes in skin with age

    Liver spots or age spots are a type of skin change that are associated with aging. The increased pigmentation may be brought on by exposure to sun, or other forms of ultraviolet light, or other unknown causes.

    Changes in skin with age

    illustration

    • Aging changes in nails

      Aging changes in nails

      The nails change with aging, growing more slowly, and becoming dull and brittle. The color may change from translucent to yellowed and opaque. Nails, especially toenails, may become hard and thick and ingrown toenails may be more common. The tips of the fingernails may fragment. Sometimes, lengthwise (longitudinal) ridges will develop in the fingernails and toenails. This can be a normal aging change. However, some nail changes can be caused by infections, nutritional problems, trauma, and other problems.

      Aging changes in nails

      illustration

    • Aging changes in hearing

      Aging changes in hearing

      With aging, ear structures deteriorate. The eardrum often thickens and the inner ear bones and other structures are affected.

      Aging changes in hearing

      illustration

    • Changes in face with age

      Changes in face with age

      With aging, the outer skin layer (epidermis) thins even though the number of cell layers remains unchanged. The number of pigment-containing cells (melanocytes) decreases, but the remaining melanocytes increase in size. Aging skin thus appears thinner, more translucent. Age spots or liver spots may appear in sun-exposed areas. Changes in the connective tissue reduce the skin's strength and elasticity. This is known as elastosis and is especially pronounced in sun-exposed areas.

      Changes in face with age

      illustration

    • Changes in skin with age

      Changes in skin with age

      Liver spots or age spots are a type of skin change that are associated with aging. The increased pigmentation may be brought on by exposure to sun, or other forms of ultraviolet light, or other unknown causes.

      Changes in skin with age

      illustration


    Review Date: 5/6/2019

    Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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