The changes associated with increasing age result in a decline in the structure and function of human tendons. Age correlates with decrease in the number of tenoblasts and overall tenoblastic activity. Structurally, collagen fibers increase in diameter, vary in thickness, lose tensile strength, and become tougher with increasing age and so the ultimate tensile strength of a human tendon declines. Age also affects tendon blood flow and the number of capillaries per unit of surface area.The most characteristic age-related microscopic and biochemical pathological changes are degeneration of the tenocytes and collagen fibers, and accumulation of lipids, ground substance (glycosaminoglycans), and calcium deposits. Careful control and treatment of nutritional deficits and altered hormone levels, whether due to disease or pharmacological intervention, may reduce the harmful aging effects on tendon tissue. Also, participation in a well-structured, long-term exercise program may minimize or retard the effects of aging on tendons.
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