Asked by: Jabier Lutthans
medical healthlung and respiratory health

What are the effects of aging on the respiratory system?

Last Updated: 23rd June, 2020

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Aging changes in the lungs
  • Bones become thinner and change shape. This can change the shape of your ribcage. As a result, your ribcage cannot expand and contract as well during breathing.
  • The muscle that supports your breathing, the diaphragm, becomes weakened. This weakness may prevent you from breathing enough air in or out.

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Accordingly, what effects does aging have on the respiratory system?

Respiratory muscle strength decreases with age and can impair effective cough, which is important for airway clearance. The lung matures by age 20–25 years, and thereafter aging is associated with progressive decline in lung function.

One may also ask, how does age affect respiratory rate? Breathing rate usually does not change with age. But lung function decreases slightly. Healthy older people can usually breathe without effort. Older people may become dizzy when standing up too quickly.

Secondly, what are the effects of exercise on the respiratory system?

During exercise there is an increase in physical activity and muscle cells respire more than they do when the body is at rest. The heart rate increases during exercise. The rate and depth of breathing increases - this makes sure that more oxygen is absorbed into the blood, and more carbon dioxide is removed from it.

How can the elderly improve lung function?

Complete BreathingSit up straight and exhale. Inhale and relax your stomach muscles. Feel your belly expand as your lungs fill with air. Keep breathing in until you feel your chest expand with a deep breath.

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