Aging and Its Effects on the Lungs
Changes in the body can affect average lung capacity by age. While these changes generally occur because of aging, it is important to note that every individual is different. Changes caused by aging may or may not have a significant effect, depending on chronic illnesses, disease, and many other factors. Here are some of the changes a person faces as they get older:
Average lung capacity by age decreases due to physiological changes. A person’s bones change shape and become thinner as they age. In severe cases, this will reduce oxygen levels in the body and increase carbon dioxide levels.
When there is too much carbon dioxide in the body, this can result in symptoms such as fatigue and breathlessness.
As a person ages, in general, muscles and tissues around the airway structures become weak. In rare cases, this can cause the airways to close too quickly.
In addition, the tiny air sacs that exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide inside the lungs (alveoli) become distorted and are unable to function properly in the worst cases. When this happens, the lungs can no longer exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide effectively.
Nervous System Changes
Average lung capacity by age decreases because some parts of the brain that control breathing won’t be as effective as it was before. This can result in insufficient oxygen reaching your lungs. The lungs may not be able to exhale enough carbon dioxide as well. In such cases, a person experiences difficulty in breathing, and tiredness.
As you age, your airways become less sensitive to triggers, making it difficult to cough up any germs, smoke, or particles in the lungs. Because of this, an accumulation of particles and even bacteria may reside in the lungs.