How does the heart change with age?
As we grow older, our body undergoes many changes and so does our heart. Aging makes many changes in the blood vessels and areas of the heart. These changes up the risk of heart disease. For instance, as one grows older, the heart may not beat as fast as it used to during any kind of physical activity or during stress.
Usually its seniors aged 65 and above who have a greater incidence of heart problems due to the age-related changes.
Increase in chamber size
With age, the chambers of the heart may increase in size. When the heart wall thickens, what happens is that the amount of blood which a chamber is capable of holding is likely to decrease inspite of the overall increase in heart size.
Age can bring about changes in the electrical system in the heart which may result in arrythmias which could be a slow, rapid or irregular heartbeat. Sometimes one may even need a pacemaker.
Thickening of valves
The heart valves which are like doorways that control the blood flow to the various chambers of the heart may end up becoming thicker and stiffer with age.
This is a condition where plaque builds up within the walls of the arteries of the heart. When this happens, the arteries harden and become narrower. The result is that this reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to various organs and parts of the body. With time, this goes on to weaken the heart muscle and can result in heart failure. Another thing is that when the blood flow gets blocked due to plaque, it can cause angina which is chest pain or discomfort and may even lead up to a heart attack.
Prevent heart disease
While not all factors such as genes can be controlled, there is still a lot that you can do to prevent heart diseases. This includes keeping blood sugar and b.p. in control, monitoring cholesterol levels, exercising regularly, eating a heart-healthy diet and more. Consult your doctor regularly and do your check-ups.