Heart Health Information For Seniors
Cardiovascular disease is responsible for almost half of all deaths by non-communicable diseases.
CVD is a name applied to a number of different diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels. Coronary heart disease is a type of CVD that occurs when blood supply to the heart is restricted or blocked (which can, in turn, lead to angina, heart attack, and heart failure).
What is the Heart
The human heart is an organ that pumps blood throughout the body via the circulatory system, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and removing carbon dioxide and other wastes.
“The tissues of the body need a constant supply of nutrition in order to be active,” said Dr. Lawrence Phillips, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. “If [the heart] is not able to supply blood to the organs and tissues, they’ll die.
In humans, the heart is roughly the size of a large fist and weighs between about 10 to 12 ounces (280 to 340 grams) in men and 8 to 10 ounces (230 to 280 grams) in women, according to Henry Gray’s “Anatomy of the Human Body.”
The physiology of the heart basically comes down to “structure, electricity, and plumbing,” Phillips told Live Science.
The human heart has four chambers: two upper chambers (the atria) and two lower ones (the ventricles), according to the National Institutes of Health. The right atrium and right ventricle together make up the “right heart,” and the left atrium and left ventricle make up the “left heart.” A wall of muscle called the septum separates the two sides of the heart.
The Heart Changes With Age
As we age the possibility of developing heart problems increases,
Older people tend to suffer a heart attack, have a stroke, or develop coronary heart disease (commonly called heart disease) and heart failure more than the younger people.
Heart disease can also cause disability, limiting the activity and eroding the quality of life of millions of older people.
A major cause of heart disease in the boomers is the buildup of fatty deposits in the walls of arteries. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to delay, lower, or possibly avoid or reverse the risk of fat deposits in the artery walls.
Increased stiffness of the large arteries, called arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries is the most common change due to aging.
Arteriosclerosis is the cause of high blood pressure, which becomes more common as we age.
Because there are several risk factors that cause atherosclerosis, it is not necessarily a normal part of aging.
The building up of plaque inside the walls of your arteries over time hardens and narrows your arteries, and this limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body.
Oxygen and blood nutrients are supplied to the heart muscle through the coronary arteries. The blockage of any of these arteries can cause a heart attack or damage to the muscle of the heart.
Plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, which reduces blood flow to your heart muscle. And if not corrected Over time, the heart muscle can become weakened and/or damaged, resulting in heart failure.
There are different things that can cause damage to the heart, alcohol abuse, diabetes high blood pressure and stand for long periods, in the case of long-standing it is best to wear compression socks or stocking and if you suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure keep them under control
There are age-related changes in the electrical system that can lead to a rapid, slowed, or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias) in this case a pacemaker may be needed to regulate the flow of blood
( see video below).
- The chambers of your heart may also increase in size and the heart wall becomes thick, so the amount of blood that a chamber can hold may decrease. The heart may fill more slowly, uncontrolled hypertension over a long period of time is the main cause of increased thickness of the heart wall, which can increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm problem in older people.
With increasing age, we may become more sensitive to salt, which may cause an increase in blood pressure and/or ankle or foot swelling (edema).
Other factors, such as thyroid disease or chemotherapy, may also weaken the heart muscle. And if heart disease is also present in your family history, this may increase your risk of heart disease.
Heart disease is caused when the coronary arteries that surround the outside of the heart and supply blood nutrients and oxygen to the heart muscle, are partially or blocked by plaque build-up inside the arteries.
The plaque build-up into the arteries causes less space for blood to flow normally and deliver oxygen to the heart. If the flow of blood to your heart is reduced by plaque buildup or is blocked, and if a plaque suddenly ruptures, it can cause angina (chest pain or discomfort) or a heart attack.
When the heart muscle does not get enough oxygen and blood nutrients, the heart muscle cells will die (heart attack) and weaken the heart, diminishing its ability to pump blood to the rest of the body.
According to Heart.org the signs of a heart attack are:
Signs Of Heart Attack
Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes – or it may go away and then return. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Shortness of breath. This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs. Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.
Prevent Heart Disease
There are many steps you can take to keep your heart healthy.
On the advice of your doctor, aim to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Every day is best. It doesn’t have to be done all at once.
Start by doing activities you enjoy—brisk walking, dancing, bowling, bicycling, or gardening, for example. Avoid spending hours every day sitting.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Smoking adds to the damage to the artery walls. It’s never too late to get some benefit from quitting smoking.
Eat healthily, the dash diet is highly recommended by cardiologists, (The DASH diet is a dietary pattern promoted by the U.S.-based National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to prevent and control hypertension. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods; includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts, and beans; and is limited in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, red meat, and added fats. Wikipedia )
Keep a healthy weight. Balancing the calories you eat and drink with the calories burned by being physically active helps to maintain a healthy weight.
Keep your diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol under control. Follow your doctor’s advice to manage these conditions, and take medications as directed.
Limit stress, in today’s life there is a lot of stress, and unfortunately, it is easy to become overwhelmed by stress
But we can manage stress, like exercise, deep breathing, relaxing your muscles by stretching, take a break, slow down take it easy.
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