Our body goes through myriad changes as we age-bones tend to shrink in size-becoming more brittle and prone to fractures, muscles lose strength, endurance and flexibility, you tend to lose balance among other things. It then becomes imperative that you focus on managing your conditions in a slightly different and more rigorous way from when you were younger. Of all the physical conditions, heart diseases are the most common in older adults and have been a recurring cause of physical disability and poor quality of life. In this article we will look at some of the changes that occur in the heart in old age and what are some of the research taking place which holds promise of a better future. Some senior care centers have already acquired state of the art, advanced facilities to care for patients with heart conditions and Primary Medical Care Center for Seniors in County Line is one of them. Their exceptional service and care comes second to only the families.
Some of the major changes that take place in old age are as follows:
- Heart undergoes major changes in the blood vessels, that is to say the heart wouldn’t beat as fast during a physical activity as it would have when you were younger.
- Fatty deposits are formed in the interior of the arteries
- The large arteries become stiff in a condition known as arteriosclerosis causing high blood pressure or hypertension
- High Blood Pressure in turn leads to atherosclerosis. Hardening of the arteries leads to their narrowing which means a lower amount of oxygen rich blood is being supplied to the brain and other parts of the body.
- Age can cause a change in the electrical system which leads to arrhythmia which is rapid, slow or irregular heartbeat.
- The chambers of the heart increase in size as we age and the heart wall thickens, so the amount of blood that a chamber may hold decreases despite the increased size of the chamber.
- People may become more sensitive to salt which leads to changes in blood pressure and foot/ankle swelling
Scope of Future Research in Ageing and Heart Conditions
Future research in this arena is directed towards gaining a better understanding of ageing heart. This is being done by comparison studies of a healthy heart and an ageing heart. Scientists have so far been able to identify the risk factors such as lack of physical activity, diet and the ageing of other organ systems including the muscles, kidneys, lungs etc. Ongoing research will unravel how these systems affect each other. Wearable devices are already in place that have been assessing vital signs.
Wearers of such devices have vouched for them as the devices alert them if there is any anomaly in their heart beat, breath etc leading to early diagnosis and action. After the pandemic many seniors have switched to technology and rely on it more often than they have in the past. The technologies are now being evolved to cater to more and more subsets of population in an attempt to provide greater access.
Bioresorbable stents are stents that dissolve within a year or so preventing clot formation that occurs with the usual kind of stents. Currently, there are some limitations in their use given they are not flexible enough to be placed inside arteries, therefore they are being further developed to improve functionality. Senior care centers like Primary Medical Care Center for Seniors in County Line are invested in bringing the best of these technologies for their seniors and help them get the best care. While there is a lot of scope for future research, the basic thumb rule must not be forgotten-that of exercising and eating right.