Our Lungs and Aging Have A Lot In Common 

Do our lungs and aging really have anything in common?

The answer, despite what we may think or feel as we all get older, is a very definitive yes, and there are several reasons why.

Our lungs, throughout our lifetimes, have been preforming their two major tasks diligently over the years.

They have been instrumental in bringing oxygen into our body and at the same type expelling carbon dioxide.

Our Lungs and Aging

To put it simply, if these basic tasks have become compromised, several bad things can begin to happen.

Because of that, our lungs and aging is something we should all take very seriously.

There are several parts of our body that begin to change as we age, and they include the following.

  • Our bones and muscle structures
  • Our lung tissues
  • Changes in our nervous system
  • Our immune system

Our lungs and aging begin when air enters into them as we inhale, and then starts the process of flowing into them.

The tissues in our airways stretch and expand and there are bands of muscles as well as support tissues that help keep them open.

As we are breathing, air is continuously flowing into our lungs and fills very small sacs, called air sacs. Once there, our blood begins to circulate around them via very small blood vessels.

The oxygen that has been brought in then enters into our bloodstream where the air sacs and blood vessels meet.

This meeting place is also where the carbon dioxide, a waste product made by metabolism, starts the expelling process that is triggered by exhaling.

Aging Changes in the Lungs

Our lungs and aging starts with the changes that are beginning to occur in our bones

As we get older and pass the 50 year old mark, our bones begin to change their shape and become thinner. One of the major parts of our body that can be affected by these changes is our rib cage.

As we get older, not only our joints and bone structure is weakening, so is the strength as well as the shape of our rib cage.

As a result of these changes and its weakening, all of us will have trouble breathing in, as well as letting out, the same amount of air and oxygen that we used to.

As the oxygen supply is reduced, so is the carbon dioxide that is released, which can easily lead to shortness of breath as well as fatigue.

The next connection is the changes that are starting to occur in the tissues. Our tissues and muscles in our lungs are critical for them to keep their strength and elasticity.

As they age and begin to wear down, not only do they lose their shape, they close much quicker.

As a result of this, our air sacs will also lose their shape, and begin to trap air inside our lungs.

This is one of the major reasons our lungs and aging are connected.

Four Friends Jogging TogetherFour Friends Jogging Together

However, the list is still not complete as our nervous system and immune system is also beginning to slow down and weaken.

Part of the normal process of getting older involves our brain and the signals that are sent out to our body, including the breathing process.

This process is affected in two ways; the amount of oxygen being released by the lungs and the amount of oxygen that is actually reaching the brain to send signals.

Our immune system is also affected as we get older, and it is not quite as quick at attacking invading infections such as virus and bacteria.

As it weakens, it may not be able to attack several different types of lung infections; it is also slowing down the natural recovery process from smoke and the environmental damages.

Some of The Risks

Our lungs and aging, because of the above changes that are occurring, place us at a greater risk of several potential diseases that include some of the following.

  • Bronchial Asthma
  • COPD in seniors
  • CAP-Community acquired pneumonia
  • Pulmonary Embolism

Bronchial Asthma is one of the most common issues with our lungs and aging, especially as we enter our 60’s and older.

It is best described as a condition that is pocketed by attacks of dyspnea that causes inflammation to our airways, which in turn leads to wheezing.

These attacks of wheezing can be quite mild, to the complete opposite, and become so severe that they will almost suffocate you. If an attack last for severe days, it could easily kill you.   

The next disease is COPD in seniors.

The disease in the vast majority of cases is the result of years of smoking and has no cure as of this date. However, it can be controlled if you have it properly diagnosed.

The damages caused by aging are magnified several times over by this condition and the only successful way to control it is with a combination inhaler.

I have learned for experience, as I have COPD. The most common inhalers are Advair, Symbiort, Spiriva, and Anoro.

The only one that I have fond to be effective with no side effects is Anoro. The other brands work, but can cause very dry and sore throats. Anoro does not, at least to me

CAP, community acquired pneumonia, is also an inflammatory disease, however the name alone can be confusing. It has nothing to do with being in a hospital or a nursing home.

The most common cause of this condition is a weakened immune system, a brain disorder, as well as diabetes and heart disease.

Pulmonary embolism is caused by a blockage of one of our major arteries in our lungs, the pulmonary artery, as the result of a blood clot that has traveled generally from our legs.

Unlike COPD, the spectrum with this is condition is bloody, and if not treated quickly, can be fatal.

Our lungs and aging have a very strong connection and we should take this process seriously.

References

https://yourhealthofima.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/those-tired-lungs-respiratory-diseases-in-the-elderly/


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