Overview & Description
Normal changes in the lungs occur as an individual ages.
What is the information for this topic?
The main job of the lungs is to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide. As a person inhales, the air travels through a series of airways that branch out into smaller and smaller passages. These airways end at small sacs called alveoli. Tiny blood vessels that surround the alveoli take in the oxygen and exchange it for carbon dioxide.
The lungs are constantly exposed to particles in the air, some of which can be damaging. These include smoke, dust, pollen, and bacteria. The lungs help protect the body from many of these particles by filtering them out before they go any further into the body.
In order to take in and expel large amounts of air, the lungs must stay elastic or able to stretch easily. As a person ages, the lungs become stiffer and less elastic. There are also fewer alveoli and tiny blood vessels around the lungs. This makes air exchange more difficult. This can limit the ability of the lungs to expand and take in as much air as they did in younger days.
Other changes that occur with aging include:
A person can help keep his or her lungs healthy and lessen the effects of aging by:
Article type: xmedgeneral