American Academy of Health and Fitness
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IN THIS SECTION
Integumentary (Skin) System
Skeletal System
Muscular System
Nervous System
Endocrine System
Cardiovascular System
Lymphatic (Immune) System
Respiratory System
Digestive System
Urinary System
Reproductive System


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Integumentary (Skin) System

The major functions of this system are protection from environmental hazards and temperature control.

In general, aging skin thins as cell activity declines and as the network of elastic and collagen fibers supporting it decreases. This makes older people more prone to injury and recurring skin infections, causes the sagging and wrinkling notorious of aging, and slows skin repair.

Aging results in a decrease in the melanin pigment in skin, which means older people are more sensitive to the sun and tend to avoid it. Avoiding sunlight can cause the production of Vitamin D to decrease by as much as 75%. This can then result in muscle weakness and a reduction in bone strength because vitamin D is necessary for functioning of both the muscular and skeletal systems.

Glandular activity in the skin decreases and leads to dry, scaly skin. Sweat glands become less active, and at the same time blood supply to the skin is decreased. This combination makes the elderly less able to lose body heat, so overexertion or exposure to extreme temperatures can cause dangerously high body temperatures.

As you can see, aging leads to many changes in the skin.

 

Fun fact:

An organ is defined as a combination of tissues that performs a specific function or group of functions. So yes, the skin is an organ! As a matter of fact, it is the largest organ of the body in surface area and weight!


Fun fact:

The number of melanocytes is about the same in people of all races. Differences in skin color occur primarily as a result of the amount of melanin produced by individual melanocytes.


Not so fun fact:

Most of the age-related changes that appear in the skin occur in the dermis, the deeper layer of skin. Collagen fibers stiffen and elastic fibers lose their elasticity and clump together, and neither is replaced at an adequate pace. Consequently, crevices known as wrinkles form as damage continues.

 
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Contact Information:

American Academy of Health and Fitness
Phone 800-95-SRFIT (800-957-7348)
Fax (703) 451-4952

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