Aging Changes in the Bones – Muscles- Joints
From the service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health
Changes in posture and gait (walking pattern) are as universally associated with aging as changes in the skin and hair. The skeleton provides support and structure to the body. Joints are the areas where bones come together. They allow the skeleton to be flexible for movement. In a joint, bones do not directly contact each other. Instead, they are cushioned by cartilage in the joint, synovial membranes around the joint, and fluid.
Muscles provide the force and strength to move the body. Coordination is directed by the brain but is affected by changes in the muscles and joints. Changes in the muscles, joints, and bones affect the posture and gait, and lead to weakness and slowed movement.
Bone mass or density is lost as people age, especially in women after menopause. The bones lose calcium and other minerals.
The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae. Between each bone is a gel-like cushion (intervertebral disk). The trunk becomes shorter as the disks gradually lose fluid and become thinner.
In addition, vertebrae lose some of their mineral content, making each bone thinner. The spinal column becomes curved and compressed (packed together). Bone spurs, caused by aging and overall use of the spine, may also form on the vertebrae.
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