CHANGES WITH AGING - RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
As we age our respiratory capacity declines, the trachea
increases in size, lung elasticity and oxygen exchange
decrease and our over breathing capacilty reduces. Poor
lifestyle habits such as toxic air and smoking can lead
to lung disease, and if exposed to asbestos, mesotheliomas.
From the ages of 20 to 80, our vital capacity declines
linearly. The amount of residual air left in our lungs
after each breath increases from about 20 percent of
the total lung capacity when we are 20 to 35 percent
at age 60.
Also, slightly less oxygen is absorbed from air that
is breathed in. In people who do not smoke or have a
lung disorder, the muscles of breathing and the lungs
continue to function well enough to meet the needs of
the body during ordinary daily activities. But these
changes may make exercising vigorously and breathing
at high altitudes more difficult.
The lungs become less able to fight infection, in
part because the cells that sweep debris out of the
airways are less able to do so. Cough, which also helps
clear the lungs, tends to be weaker.
Air Flow Meters & Respiratory Support
Changes In The Airways With Age
The trachea (windpipe) and large airways increase in
diameter as we age. Enlargement at the lung end of the
airways results in a decreased surface area of the lung.
Maximum breathing (vital) capacity may decline by
about 40 percent between the ages of 20 and 70.
Changes In Lung Elasticity With Age
Decreased lung elasticity and the resulting increase
in lung volume and reduced surface area causes the chest
to expand and the diaphragm to descend. As our ribs
calcify to our breastbone the chest wall stiffens, increasing
the workload of the respiratory muscles. Aerobic
exercise assists in maintaining elasticity of the
Changes In The Diaphragm With Age
The muscles used in breathing, such as the diaphragm,
tend to weaken. As we become more sedentary, our breathing
becomes lazy and we tend not to properly engage our
diaphragm. The lungs do not fill to normal capacity
and work less efficiently at exchanging oxygen and gasses.
From 20 to age 80 reduces the elasticity of the aveoli
Blood Oxygen Levels
Decreases, largely as the result of impaired matching
of blood flow with the parts of the lung that contain
air. Aging does not cause any problems in our ability
to get rid of carbon dioxide.
Endurance training can produce stunning increases
in the lung capacity of sedentary older persons, with
well-conditioned older people possessing lung function
exceeding those of much younger people. Smoking accelerates
News on Smoking and Quit Smoking Support Treatments
In Gastro-Intestinal Function With Age