As we age, we try to keep up with upcoming doctor appointments, take our medications on time, and eat healthy. But with age comes many changes to your body, and that includes changes to your heart. Aging can cause changes in both your heart and blood vessels, and those 65 and older are much more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke, or coronary heart disease (commonly called heart disease) and heart failure.
Here are some things that can change your heart with age, and some ways you can help prevent them or stop them from progressing further.
How the heart changes with age
- As we get older, cholesterol and fatty tissue may develop as your heart slows and gravity takes makes your heart need more time and energy to pump. The sinoatrial or natural pacemaker we all have losses some of its cells and can slow down your heart rate.
- You could develop an increase in your heart rate. For instance; the left ventricle pumps oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, while the right ventricle sends oxygen to your lungs. As you age, your heart wall thickens. This can decrease the amount of blood your heart can hold, and thus, may fill more slowly.
- Abnormal rhythms within the heart can be caused by several different types of heart disease. There are age-related changes in the electrical system that can lead to arrhythmias – a rapid, slowed, or irregular heart beat – that may require the need for a pacemaker.
- People become more sensitive to salt intake overtime. This may cause an increase in blood pressure and/or ankle or foot swelling, also called edema.
How to Prevent Heart Problems
- One of the most important things you can do is check your blood pressure, even if you are healthy. This is due to the fact that age related changes in your arteries can contribute to hypertension. You could be feeling well, but high blood pressure, if not addressed, can lead to stroke and issues with your heart, eyes, brain, and kidneys.
- Exercise, dietary adjustments, and limiting salt consumption can help manage high blood pressure, but because aging changes in the arteries frequently produce high blood pressure in older age, medication may be required, but it is fairly unusual to take more than one blood pressure medication to regulate your blood pressure.
There are ways to help prevent these things from occurring. It’s important to note that these changes beyond your control. Family history may also be a factor, but striving for a healthy, heart-happy lifestyle can help you prevent or delay the onset of many serious illnesses.
About The GreenFields Continuing Care Community
The GreenFields Continuing Care Community provides for the physical, social, and spiritual needs of residents in a Christian environment. In addition to skilled nursing, subacute rehabilitation, and outpatient therapy at GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center, The GreenFields offers a variety of living arrangements and support levels based on individual needs. This includes independent living apartments in GreenField Manor; assisted living apartments in GreenField Court; and memory care and enhanced assisted living in GreenField Terrace.