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Environment and ageing biology 

Environment and ageing biology
Chapter:
Environment and ageing biology
Author(s):

Arun S. Karlamangla

and Teresa E. Seeman

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198701590.003.0043
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date: 24 August 2019

Psychosocial factors over the life course and major life events are associated with the health, functional status, and survival of older adults. This chapter discusses the biological mechanisms through which these influences are thought to operate, and how life stresses might accelerate the usual ageing of biological systems. It starts with a brief description of psychosocial determinants of health and functioning before elaborating on the allostatic mechanisms by which the body adapts its internal physiological milieu in response to perceived stressors. The price paid for frequent and recurring adaptation is eventual dysregulation of the mediators of allostasis, or allostatic load. We close with a brief discussion of allostatic load links to health outcomes in older adults and potential interventions that might ameliorate the impact of psychosocial adversities on health.

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