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Health
Age Heartily!
Jan 2014
Dr P K Sahoo
Sr Consultant Interventional Cardiologist Apollo Hospitals, Bhubaneswar

The average lifespan of humans is increasing and with it the percentage of people entering the 65-and-older age group is growing rapidly and will continue to do so in the next 20 years. Within this age group, cardiovascular disease will remain the leading cause of death. Ageing is an inevitable part of life and unfortunately poses as the largest risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

With age, the function of the heart is influenced mainly by the decrease in elasticity and the ability to respond to changes in pressure (compliance) of the arterial system. Once you reach 70, be vigilant of heartbeats that are irregular, too slow or too fast, dizziness, uneasiness or pain in your left chest, progressive fatigue or shortness of breath. These might not be signs of only ageing but might be indications of a heart condition.

 

Effects Of Ageing On Circulatory System

Heart

Heartbeats are controlled by the natural pacemaker system of the heart. This system might form fat deposits and fibrous tissues in its pathways. There is a cell loss in this natural pacemaker. The heart rate becomes slightly slower due to these changes.

It isn’t unusual for the heart size to increase slightly, more so of the left ventricle. Despite the increase in the size of the heart, the quantity of blood that can be held by the chamber might decrease – this happens because of the thickening of the walls. The filling and pumping of blood might happen more slowly.