AGING AND THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM
Most of the endocrine glands decrease their secretions with age, but normal aging usually does not lead to serious hormone deficiencies. There are decreases in adrenol cortical hormones, for example, but the levels are usually sufficient to maintain homeostasis of water, electrolytes, and nutrients. The decreased secretion of growth hormone leads to a decrease in muscle mass
and an increase in fat storage. A lower basal metabolic rate is common in elderly people as the thyroid slows its secretion of thyroxine. Unless specific pathologies develop, however, the endocrine system usually con-tinues to function adequately in old age.