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Effects of Aging on the Liver

By

Christina C. Lindenmeyer

, MD, Cleveland Clinic

Medically Reviewed Apr 2022 | Modified Sep 2022
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The ability of the liver to metabolize many substances decreases with aging. Thus, some drugs are not inactivated as quickly in older people as they are in younger people. As a result, a drug dose that would not have side effects in younger people may have dose-related side effects in older people (see Aging and Drugs Aging and Medications Medications, the most common medical intervention, are an important part of medical care for older people. Without medications, many older people would function less well or die at an earlier... read more Aging and Medications ). Thus, drug dosages often need to be decreased in older people.

Also, the liver's ability to withstand stress decreases. Thus, substances that are toxic to the liver can cause more damage in older people than in younger people. Repair of damaged liver cells is also slower in older people.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
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