Ageing and the Heart

As we age, the cardiovascular system undergoes several changes.

These changes can have a negative impact on our health. They increase our risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.

Changes in Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol, a type fat, is used by our bodies to produce hormones and build cells.

As we age, our bodies produce more cholesterol and are less effective at removing it. This can cause a build-up of plaques in the arteries which increases the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Plaque buildup in Arteries

The arteries in your body are the blood vessels which carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your system.

If you do not regulate your cholesterol levels, it will cause the buildup of waxy deposits on your arteries. This makes it harder for your blood to flow.

It can increase the risk for heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular disease.

Plaque buildup can cause the arteries, including the brain and heart, to narrow. This can lead to a decrease in blood flow.

Stiffening of Arteries

Our arteries have been designed to be flexible, so that they can expand and contract to accommodate blood flow with every heartbeat.

If your arteries are stiff and rigid due to plaque buildup, they might not be able expand and contract to regulate blood circulation.

This condition is called atherosclerosis.

Your blood pressure will go up, increasing your risk of having a stroke, heart attack or organ failure.

Increased blood pressure

The blood pressure is the force that the heart exerts on the artery walls as it pumps the blood through the body.

The build-up of plaque and stiffening of arteries are often the cause of this condition.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) can damage delicate blood vessels, as well as the organ tissues that they nourish.

Reduced heart function

Your heart is a muscular organ. Your muscles, including your heart, tend to weaken as you age and become less effective. The amount of blood that the heart can pump each time it beats can be reduced.

This condition can lead to cardiac failure , a condition where your heart is unable to pump enough blood for your body.

Heart Disease: Increased Risk

All of these changes increase the risk of heart disease including heart attacks, coronary artery diseases, and heart failure.

Heart disease causes the majority of deaths in older adults . It is therefore important to take measures to maintain heart health.

Regular visits to a doctor can help you identify any heart-related concerns and address them before they get worse. You can monitor and manage blood pressure, cholesterol, and other risk factors of heart disease.

You should also maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, managing stress, quitting smoking and managing any health conditions, such as diabetes, that could affect your heart’s health.