What happens to the lungs as we age?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Unfortunately, as we age, structural changes occur in the lungs and other components of the respiratory system: They lose some of their elasticity, the chest wall stiffens, the alveoli's surface area decreases, and your respiratory muscles weaken. The result: a measurable decrease in airflow. Add on the fact that lung problems like asthma or bronchitis can restrict airflow by making the bronchial passages functionally narrower, and you can soon find yourself with more breathing problems.
You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty

More About this Book

You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty

International bestselling authors of YOU: The Owner's Manual and YOU: On a Diet give you all the tools and know-how to stay young and defy the ageing process. Drawing lively parallels between your...

Continue Learning about Functions of the Lungs

What function do the lungs perform?
Claudia I. Henschke, MDClaudia I. Henschke, MD
Absorbing oxygen from the air through the process of inhalation, the lungs bring oxygen into the...
More Answers
How do the right and left lung differ?
National Athletic Trainers' AssociationNational Athletic Trainers' Association
The right lung has three lobes, and the left lung has two. The left lung also has a cardiac notch, w...
More Answers
What is total lung capacity?
Dr. Robin Miller, MDDr. Robin Miller, MD
The total lung capacity (TLC) is the most air that you can inspire into your lungs. It is made up of...
More Answers
What is the capacity of an average set of lungs?
Pam GroutPam Grout
Your lungs are capable of holding up to seventeen pints of air per breath. When you breathe in only ...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.