Understanding the Aging Process

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Time takes a toll on the organs and systems in the body. People are likely to notice a number of changes as they get older.

Time takes a toll on the organs and systems in the body. People are likely to notice a number of changes as they get older.

How and when these changes occur is unique to each person. A healthy aging feature on MayoClinic.com outlines the typical changes individuals can expect as they age. Here are a few changes highlighted in the feature:

Cardiovascular system
As people age, the heart muscle becomes a less efficient pump, working harder to pump the same amount of blood through the body. Also, blood vessels become less elastic.

Bones, muscles and joints
Bones reach their maximum mass between ages 25 and 35. As people age, their bones' size and density shrink. Some people might become shorter. Gradual loss of density weakens bones and makes people more susceptible to fracture.

Digestive system
Swallowing and the motions that automatically move digested food through the intestines slow down as people get older. The amount of surface area within the intestines diminishes slightly.

Weight
As men and women age, maintaining a healthy weight may be more difficult. Metabolism generally slows, meaning that the body burns fewer calories.

MayoClinic.com features an anti-aging quiz which asks 10 questions to test people's knowledge about how to live a long and healthy life. The site also has a feature story on nutrition for seniors.

About MayoClinic.com
Launched in 1995 and visited more than 13 million times a month, this award-winning Web site offers health information, self-improvement and disease management tools to empower people to manage their health. Produced by a team of Web professionals and medical experts, MayoClinic.com gives users access to the experience and knowledge of the more than 2,500 physicians and scientists of Mayo Clinic. MayoClinic.com offers intuitive, easy-to-use tools such as "Symptom Checker" and "First-Aid Guide" for fast answers about health conditions ranging from common to complex; as well as an A-Z library of more than 850 diseases and conditions; in-depth sections on 24 common diseases and conditions; 16 healthy living areas, including food and nutrition, recipes, fitness and weight control, videos, animations and features such as "Ask a Specialist" and "Drug Watch." Users can sign up for a free weekly e-newsletter called "Housecall," which provides the latest health information from Mayo Clinic. For more information, visit http://www.mayoclinic.com.

To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to http://www.mayoclinic.org/news. MayoClinic.com (http://www.mayoclinic.com) is available as a resource for your health stories.

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Ginger Plumbo