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Health, Medicine, Nursing
Research Paper
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Physiological and Psychological Effects of Ageing (Research Paper Sample)


The paper wss a research on the Physiological and psychological effects of ageing.


Physiological and psychological effects of ageing.
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Aging has long been a question of great interest in a wide range of fields. To understand this better, aging is the process of growing old. With this in mind, growing old comes with its own effects on the body. The effects have considerable impacts on the body. The primary concern of this paper is to explain the physiological and psychological effects of aging.
Body senses collect information in the form of sound, light, smells, tastes, and touch of the surrounding environment and convert it to nerve signals. It follows that, this signals are carried to the brain and converted to meaningful sensation. There is a certain amount of stimulation required in the human body so as to become aware of this sensation. Threshold is the minimum level of this sensation. Naturally, the threshold is increased by aging, so increasing the amount of stimulation needed. Touch is one of the senses affected by aging.
The skin is the largest body organ, and so the skin plays a major role in the body. One of the roles is the sense of touch. Sense of touch in this case includes: having knowledge of temperature, pain, pressure, vibration, and position of your body. Skin and muscles have receptors that detect these sensations. The receptors take information to the brain and the brain interprets the type and the amount of that sensation. When one ages, they experience reduced sensation or these sensations changes. Notably, these changes can be brought about due to less blood flow to the receptors or the brain or the spinal cord. The spinal cord and the brain work hand in hand with one another. The spinal is involved in transmitting nerve signals while the brain interprets them. If one of them is affected then the sensation will be interpreted differently.
As people age, there is reduced touch related sensations. For instance, it becomes difficult to tell the difference between hot or warm. Correspondingly, the inability to differentiate temperatures changes increases the risks of burns, hypothermia and frostbite. Injuries will be common as age advances. Also, when temperatures are high, the skin is not able to produce sweat in-order to cool the body in contrast to younger skin. Consequently, this leads to heat stress.
In the same context, pressure sensitivity has been particularly a topic of interest in aging. The interesting approach to the ability to detect light pressure has been proposed by Semmes and Weinstein (Weinstein, 1993) who said that von Frey filaments of different diameters are used to asses pressure. These filaments are set to bend to a specific force which then become pressure. For example, 2.83 filaments, which is taken as the threshold of determining changes in regard to pressure, produces 0.07g of force. In young people it was found out that pressure sensitivity decreases in reference to 2.83 filaments (Desrosiers, Herbert et al. 1995). There is overwhelming evidence corroborating the notation that these changes become more and more evident from 60 years and above. However, the degree of reduced sensitivity varies considerably between people.
Perception of texture by touch is another area that is affected due to age advancement. Texture can be viewed from two different perspectives, that is: the hardness or softness of a surface and the roughness or smoothness of something. A study conducted by Lederman has provided insightful breakthrough in understanding texture perception (Lederman 1978). Along similar lines, we can argue that as age advances the perception of texture decreases due to the slow interpretation of the brain. With this in mind, the elderly are not able to differentiate textures effectively. However, it is pertinent to remember texture discrimination is not so much affected by age.
Much like temperature sensitivity, vibration sensitivity also declines as age advances. On these grounds, vibration sensitivity in regard to age is associated with factors such as the frequency of vibration, duration of stimulation and the area of contact. It was found out that sensitivity to vibrations reduces substantially from the age sixty onwards (Gescheider 1965). Significantly, loss of sensitivity to vibration is more for high frequencies as compared to low frequencies. With this in mind, it is good to note that the loss of Pacini receptors in the Pacini channel is the one that leads to loss of sensitivity to vibrations.
As age advances, loss of vision or poor vision is expected. Vision depends on light. The eye contains the senses that are used in determining vision. The eye has pupil, the lens, the retina, the cornea and also the fovea. All this combined makes us to see. To understand this better, the retina contains photoreceptor cells, which are cones and rods. When the brain coupled with the eye interpret light, we are able to see colors and images clearly. However, it has been proven that as age advances the photoreceptor cells are not able to send signals clearly to the brain thus seeing becomes difficult. Chiefly, this has major effects to the elderly. They suffer due to poor vision in the sense that, caregivers must be close by. Poor judgement is also another major effect. They are unable to estimate distances to objects. This in turn puts them at a risk when driving or crossing roads.
Hearing loss is another effect that is related to aging. As age advance...
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