Aging changes in body shape
St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

Aging changes in body shape

Information

Your body shape changes naturally as you age. Some of these changes cannot be avoided but your lifestyle choices may slow or speed the process.

The human body is made up of fat, lean tissue (muscles and organs), bones, and water. After age 30, the people tend to lose lean tissue. Your muscles, liver, kidney, and other organs may lose some of their cells. This process of muscle loss is called atrophy. Bones may lose some of their minerals and become less dense (a condition called osteopenia, or at its later stage, osteoporosis). Tissue loss reduces the amount of water in your body.

The amount of body fat goes up steadily after age 30 and may rise by as much as 30%. Fat tissue builds up toward the center of the body, including around the internal organs. However, the layer of fat under the skin (subcutaneous) gets smaller.

You tendency to become shorter occurs among all races and both sexes. Height loss is related to aging changes in the bones, muscles, and joints. People typically lose about 1 cm (0.4 inches) every 10 years after age 40. Height loss is even more rapid after age 70. You may lose a total of 1 to 3 inches in height as you age. You can help prevent loss of height by following a healthy diet, staying physically active, and preventing and treating bone loss (osteoporosis).

Less muscle in the legs muscle and stiffer joints can make moving around harder. Excess body fat and changes in body shape also affect your balance making falls more likely.

Changes in total body weight vary for men and woman. Men often gain weight until about age 55, and then begin to lose weight later in life. This may be related to a drop in the male sex hormone testosterone. Women usually gain weight until age 65, and then begin to lose weight. Weight loss in later life occurs in part because lean muscle tissue is replaced with fat. Diet and exercise habits can play a large role in a person's weight changes over life.

Your lifestyle choices affect how quickly the aging process takes place. Some things you can do to reduce age-related body changes are:

  • Get regular exercise.
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and optimal amounts of healthy fats.
  • Limit your alcohol use.
  • Avoid tobacco products and illicit drugs.

References

Minaker KL. Common clinical sequelae of aging. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 24.

Shah K, Villareal DT. Obesity. In: Fillit HM, Rockwood K. eds. Brocklehurst’s Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier. 2010;chap 83.


Review Date: 11/16/2012
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com
 


Back  |  Top
About Us
Contact Us
History
Mission
Locations & Directions
Quality Reports
Annual Reports
Honors & Awards
Community Health Needs
Assessment

Newsroom
Services
Brain & Spine
Cancer
Heart
Maternity
Orthopedics
Pulmonary
Sleep Medicine
Urgent Care
Women's Services
All Services
Patients & Visitors
Locations & Directions
Find a Physician
Tour St. Luke's
Patient & Visitor Information
Contact Us
Payment Options
Financial Assistance
Send a Card
Mammogram Appointments
Health Tools
My Personal Health
mystlukes
Spirit of Women
Health Information & Tools
Clinical Trials
Health Risk Assessments
Employer Programs -
Passport to Wellness

Classes & Events
Classes & Events
Spirit of Women
Donate & Volunteer
Giving Opportunities
Volunteer
Physicians & Employees
For Physicians
Remote Access
Medical Residency Information
Pharmacy Residency Information
Physician CPOE Training
Careers
Careers
St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile