The actual human life is rising, and along with it, the proportion of persons reaching the age of 65 and beyond is fast increasing and will continue to do so over the next 20 years. Heart disease will remain the major cause of mortality in this age category, and the expense of treatment will rise. Aging is an unavoidable aspect of life and is also the leading risk factor for heart disease. Older individuals also contribute to their communities and families (Aggio et al., 2020). Old age results in a steady decline in cognitive functioning and an increased risk of illness and death. Older people are more prone to suffer from several cardiovascular diseases. This paper presents an overview of health conditions among older adults and an analysis of cardiovascular disease among the elderly in society.
An overview of health conditions among older adults
Cardiovascular disease is the most common ailment in elderly people and the leading cause of mortality. Cardiac arrest (CR), coronary artery disease (CAD), and atrial fibrillation (AF) are all major reasons for doctor visits and hospitalization. Normal aging produces stiffening of the cardiovascular system arteries (CSA), which might lead to these diseases later in life. Hypertension is the most frequent cardiac issue in persons over 75. Coronary artery disease and heart failure (HF) come as the second and third types of diseases, respectively that are frequent and problematic among older people.
Proof shows that the share of life spent in good health has stayed about constant, meaning that the extra years are spent in bad health. People’s capacity to perform the things they value is a little different from a younger person’s if they can enjoy these extra years of life in good health and in a positive environment (Aggio et al., 2020). If these extra years are characterized by decreases in physical and mental capabilities, the consequences for older persons and society are more severe.
Although some variances in older people’s health are hereditary, the majority are caused by people’s cultural and psychosocial settings, including their houses, neighborhoods, and communities, and also personal factors, such as gender, race, or financial position. People’s aging is influenced by the circumstances they grow up in as youngsters – or even as growing fetuses – and their personal qualities (Mamadiyorova, & Shermatov, 2021). Physical and social settings can impact health directly or indirectly through obstacles or incentives that influence opportunities, decisions, and health behavior. Sustaining healthy habits throughout life, notably eating healthily, participating in physical exercise, and not smoking, all contribute to lowering the risk of non – communicable disease illnesses, enhancing physical and mental ability, and postponing care needs.
Changes associated with Old age
The myocardial, cardiac vascular supply and endocardium undergo structural changes as people age. Aging causes gradual degradation of cardiac tissues, including weakening, fibrotic alterations in the aortic valve, and amyloidosis infiltration. The contraction of the heart’s left ventricular wall is one of the most important age-related structural properties. The heart’s pumping capacity decreases with age due to a range of differences in the shape and functioning of the heart muscle.
Valvular circumference increases with age throughout all four cardiac valves (aortic semilunar valve, semilunar valve, bicuspid valve, tricuspid valve), with the aortic valve seeing the most alterations (the valve between the left ventricle and the aorta) Calcific deposits are typically seen on one or more aortic valve cusps. Although these alterations do not normally result in considerable malfunction, severe aortic valvular stenosis and mitral valvular insufficiency are associated with deteriorating changes with age in certain older persons. Clinical cardiac murmurs are becoming more common.
The reduction in the number of cardiomyocytes in the sinoatrial node with age affects cardiac conduction. The elastic and collagenous tissue in all areas of the atrioventricular node increases with age. Fat builds around the sinoatrial node, causing it to partially or completely separate from the atrial musculature. With increasing age, the QRS axis shifts to the left, possibly indicating a varied degree of fibrosis in the anterior fascicle of the left bundle branch and modest left ventricular hypertrophy. The S-T segment flattens, and the intensity of the T wave decreases.
Factors contributing to changes in Myocardium
One change exhibited in the Myocardium is myocardium ischemia. Myocardial ischemia happens when there is limited blood in the heart, causing the heart muscle to get insufficient oxygen. Reduced blood flow is often caused by a partial or total blockage of your heart’s arteries. Coronary artery disease is one of the reasons (atherosclerosis). Plaques composed primarily of cholesterol form on your arterial walls, restricting blood flow. The most prevalent cause of myocardial ischemia is atherosclerosis (Jaruševičius et al., 2018).
Furthermore, the plaques that form in atherosclerosis might rupture, resulting in a blood clot. The clot could obstruct an artery, leading to abrupt, acute myocardial ischemia and a heart attack. A blood clot may occasionally move to the blood vessel elsewhere in the body.
Finally, myocardial ischemia is induced by a spasm in the coronary arteries. This momentary tightening of the arterial wall muscles can temporarily reduce or even block blood flow to a portion of the heart muscle. A rare cause of myocardial ischemia is coronary artery spasm.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) is one of the factors that cause myocardium. The human skin always has electrodes that record all the electrical functions and processes that happen in the heart. It means that the skin may detect sudden changes happening in the heart. These activities include the heartbeats and even the diseases inside the heart (Shahdadian, et al., 2019). The electrical activities happening in the heart always serve as an indicator of heat damage.
Moreover, stress is another factor that may serve as an indicator of the myocardium. When a person is stressed, the rhythm of the heart, together with the blood pressure, changes. Moreover, the breathing rate increases when a stressed individual walks on two or even rides a bicycle. Normally, the exercises make the heart pump blood in a faster and harder rhythm than usual. Conducting a stress test may detect whether a person is stressed or not.
Changes in arterial structure
The arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body’s tissues. Each artery is a three-layered muscular tube bordered by smooth tissue:
- The intima seems to be the body’s inner layer bordered by a silky tissue called the endothelium.
- The media is a layer of muscle that allows arteries to tolerate the high pressures generated by the heart.
- The adventitia is a connective tissue that connects arteries to surrounding tissues.
Aorta is the biggest artery having high pressure. It connects the heat to the left ventricle. Ideally, this biggest artery is divided into several arteries, which are smaller in size and run throughout the body. On the other hand, the Arterioles and capillaries are always considered the same in that they have small branches of the arteries (Jaruševičius et al., 2018). On the other hand, the pulmonary artery is the only artery that carries de-oxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs. Mostly, this blood travels at low pressure.
During age, Elder’s systolic blood pressure rises. Aging is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease on its own. Furthermore, when their muscles degenerate, together with their elder function and mobility decline (Jaruševičius et al., 2018). Despite their movement being free, the elderly are limited by the conditions in the heart and also in their blood vesicles. With age, the elasticity of the arterial vessels decreases, resulting in chronic or persistent increases in vessel diameter and vessel wall stiffness, which impairs vascular function. Increasing collagen, decreased elastin and calcification is all factors that lead to increased wall thickness and stiffness with age (Tesauro et al., 2017). One significant set of alterations concerns the aorta; the aorta’s wall becomes less flexible or stiffens, causing blood exiting the left ventricle of the heart to meet more resistance and not flow as far into the arteries. The valves grow stiff and ineffective over time. Varicose veins also form.
Most of these characteristics may be explained biologically using scientific proof. Arteries exhibit massive reforms as they mature as well. These reforms completely change the shape of the arteries making the elderly susceptible to several cardiovascular diseases. The gradual thickness of the arterial wall, alterations in wall composition (i.e. reduced elastin, advanced glycation), and a growth in conduit artery diameter with age are all documented in both central and peripheral arteries (Tesauro et al., 2017). These structural changes significantly impact artery function, with increases in small and large arterial stiffness being a hallmark of aging. Importantly, regardless of age or other cardiovascular risk factors, direct assessments of arterial performance and shape help predict cardiovascular events.
An overview of the cardiovascular system in older adults
The cardiovascular system comprises the heart, blood arteries, and blood itself. Its principal job is to convey nutrients and oxygen-rich blood to all body regions while returning deoxygenated blood to the lungs. People 65 years or older are much more prone than younger individuals to experience cardiovascular disease, which is characterized by issues with the heart, blood arteries, or both. Modifications in the heart’s blood arteries caused by aging may raise a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. To comprehend how aging is connected to cardiovascular illness and, eventually, to create solutions for this set of disorders, biologists must first understand what is going on in the healthy but aging heart and blood vessels. This knowledge has come a long way in the last 30 years (Tesauro et al., 2017).
Old age is a risk factor that raises a person’s chances of developing cardiovascular disease. They are learning a lot more about how physical exercise, food, and other lifestyle variables affect the “pace of aging” in healthy hearts and arteries. People are well aware that good nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, and quitting smoking all reduce the pace of aging in the heart and arteries. The better scientists comprehend the changes in cells and molecules throughout aging, for instance, the nearer we are to developing medications that target those changes (Shahdadian, et al., 2019). Gene treatments can interfere in the aging process by targeting particular cellular alterations. While you wait for these novel medicines to be developed, you may still engage in heart-healthy activities such as exercise and a nutritious diet.
In conclusion, the cardiovascular disease mostly affects the elderly. The cardiovascular system consists of the heart, lungs and blood. In the elderly, the body starts to exhibit some structural and functional changes. As discussed above, for instance, the arteries, during old age, start to thicken. This condition in turn causes the heart to be still and may even lead to death. Ideally, when the arteries thicken, they reduce blood flow to some parts of the body. This reduced supply of blood leads to improper functioning of some body functions, which may even lead to death. The myocardium may be changed by myocardium ischemia. This condition may be viewed on several levels including atherosclerosis, and even blood clots. Scientists struggle to correlate age and cardiovascular diseases, thus,, they endeavor to find a more healthy practice to help the elderly.
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