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Chapter: The Massage Connection ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY : Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology

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Effects of Age on Tissue

With age, many tissue changes occur. With connective tissue, the collagen and elastic fibers change in quality, making tissue less flexible.

Effects of Age on Tissue

With age, many tissue changes occur. With connective tissue, the collagen and elastic fibers change in quality, making tissue less flexible. Healing of tissue takes longer in older persons than in younger individuals.

With aging, the water content in ground substance decreases and the density of fibers increases. As a re-sult, diffusion of substances, as well as movement of cells through the ground substance, is impaired with age. These changes impact the supply of nutrients to tissue and the rate of healing.

As tissue ages, collagen fibers increase in number and size. They also develop cross-linkages, making them less flexible. Elastic fibers undergo such changes, making them more rigid, with a tendency to fray and fragment.

As a person ages, hyaline cartilage loses water and is slowly converted to fibrocartilage. Elasticity of the cartilage is lost and certain regions, such as the artic-ular cartilage, become thinner. The increase in fiber density encourages deposition of calcium, and calci-fication may be seen in cartilage and around major blood vessels. (For age-related changes: in bone,; nervous tissue; and muscletissue,).

The tissue changes reflect as loss of skin elasticity; wrinkle formation; joint stiffness; lung elastic recoil loss; costal cartilage rigidity; intervertebral disk shrinkage; height loss; heart chamber elasticity loss and less forceful contraction; valve stiffening, leading to valvular dysfunction; and less extensible blood ves-sels, predisposing elderly persons to hypertension.


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