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Physical Changes With Aging
Most age-related biologic functions peak before age 30 and gradually decline linearly thereafter ( Selected Physiologic Age-Related Changes); the decline may be critical during stress, but it usually has little or no effect on daily activities. Therefore, disorders, rather than normal aging, are the primary cause of functional loss during old age. Also, in many cases, the declines that occur with aging may be due at least partly to lifestyle, behavior, diet, and environment and thus can be modified. For example, aerobic exercise can prevent or partially reverse a decline in maximal exercise capacity (O 2 consumption per unit time, or Vo 2 max), muscle strength, and glucose tolerance in healthy but sedentary older people (see Exercise).
The unmodifiable effects of aging may be less dramatic than thought, and healthier, more vigorous aging may be possible for many people. Today, people > 65 are in better health than their ancestors and remain healthier longer. Because health has improved, decline tends to be most dramatic in the oldest old.
Selected Physiologic Age-Related Changes
Drug NameSelect Trade
dopamineNo US brand name
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