Impact of Endocrine Disorders in the Elderly

  • P. Sunsundegui
  • V. Santesteban-Moriones
  • M. F. LandechoEmail author
Living reference work entry
Part of the Endocrinology book series (ENDOCR)


Aging is a complex and heterogeneous process that results from the accumulation of a wide variety of damage over time that leads to a progressive loss of physiological abilities named, in sum, elderly. Deterioration of function is generally detectable first as a loss of physiological reserve expressed as the incapacity to restore homeostasis under stress and later by altered function at rest. It entails sequentially frailty, disease and ultimately death. In considering the impact of endocrine disorders in the elderly, it is essential to distinguish between the effects of aging per se on endocrine physiology and those caused by age-related illness. The only endocrine system for which there is a universal change in function with age is the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis in women. Age impacts in a very variable manner the body composition and the circadian pattern of body temperature, plasma cortisol, and sleep and can cause desynchronization or “internal phase drift.” This chapter summarizes the major changes in the endocrine organ function related to the aging process, and also some habits that have proven to delay the physiological-functions derangement, as healthy diet and exercise.


Aging Frailty Homeostenosis Menopause Hypogonadism Obesity Sarcopenia Thyroid function Hypothalamic-hypophyseal axis Adrenal glands 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Sunsundegui
    • 1
  • V. Santesteban-Moriones
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • M. F. Landecho
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.General Health Check-up Unit, Internal Medicine DepartmentClínica Universidad de NavarraPamplonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Endocrinology and NutritionClínica Universidad de NavarraPamplonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Nutrition, Food Sciences and PhysiologyUniversity of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  4. 4.Centre for nutrition researchUniversity of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  5. 5.CIBER fisiopatologia de la obesidad y nutrición (CIBERobn)Instituto de Salud Carlos IIIMadridSpain

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