Biological And Physical Process Of Aging Essay

This essay has a total of 653 words and 3 pages.

Biological And Physical Process Of Aging


The aging process is difficult to analyze because of the way that the body's organ systems
work together. The breakdown of one structure will ultimately affect the function of
others. The medical field of gerontology deals with examining the biological changes of
aging, both passive and active, that occur at the molecular and cellular levels. This
paper will seek to explore those changes, and the affect that they have on the process of
aging.

Aging as a passive process involves the breakdown of structures and the resulting slowing
of functions. At the molecular level, passive aging is seen as the degeneration of the
elastin and collagen proteins of connective tissues. These proteins are primarily
responsible for the smoothness and firmness of young skin. Consequently, when these
proteins breakdown, the skin will sag, and the muscle will lose its firmness.

Another sign of passive aging is the breakdown of lipids at the biochemical level. As
aging membranes leak during this lipid degeneration, a fatty, brown pigment known as
lipofuscin accumulates. As this happens, the mitochondria, or the "powerhouse of the cell"
begins to break down, thereby decreasing the amount of energy that is being supplied to
the cell.

This cellular degeneration may be set into action by highly reactive chemicals known as
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