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Effects of Aging on the Endocrine System

By

William F. Young, Jr

, MD, MSc, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

Last full review/revision Apr 2022| Content last modified Sep 2022
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION

The endocrine system consists of a group of glands and organs that regulate and control various body functions by producing and secreting hormones. Hormones are chemical substances that affect the activity of another part of the body. In essence, hormones serve as messengers, controlling and coordinating activities throughout the body. (See also Endocrine Glands Endocrine Glands The endocrine system consists of a group of glands and organs that regulate and control various body functions by producing and secreting hormones. Hormones are chemical substances that affect... read more .)

Some hormones that decrease with aging include

In women, estrogen levels decline with menopause Menopause Menopause is the permanent end of menstrual periods and thus of fertility. For up to several years before and just after menopause, estrogen levels fluctuate widely, periods become irregular... read more Menopause . In men, testosterone levels usually decrease gradually. Decreased levels of growth hormone may lead to decreased muscle mass and strength. Decreased melatonin levels may play an important role in the loss of normal sleep-wake cycles (circadian rhythms) with aging.

Hormones that usually remain unchanged or only slightly decrease include

  • Cortisol

  • Insulin

  • Thyroid hormones

Hormones that may increase include

  • Follicle-stimulating hormone

  • Luteinizing hormone

  • Parathyroid hormone

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