Aging is a normal phenomenon. The body ages with time and so does the heart. Age decreases the efficiency of the heart and the blood vessels. The heart increases in size and the pumping ability of the heart suffers. The blood vessels lose their plasticity and elasticity to a certain extent. All these can cause high blood pressure, swelling in the feet and finally heart failure in an aged individual.
Heart diseases have been observed to be one of the main causes of death in India. The condition is also responsible for nearly one-third geriatric deaths worldwide.
Any blockage or interruption in the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart can cause a heart attack. The reason of disruption in the blood supply is usually the presence of a blood clot in any of the coronary arteries supplying blood to the heart. It is due to a blockage in single or more than one coronary arteries of the heart. Atherosclerosis of the arteries can be another cause behind stroke, coronary disease or congestive heart failure. Atherosclerosis is the process of hardening of the arteries that deliver blood to the brain, the kidneys, the heart, the limbs and the viscera.
Characteristic Features of Heart Care in Old Age
- Older people often play down the symptoms they are suffering from. The healthcare provider should try to give right emphasis if they hear complains of feeling a bit under the weather or sweating profusely. These could be indicative signs of painless heart attack, common in the elderly, especially the Diabetics.
- Elderly are susceptible to extreme temperature changes. Care has to be taken to safeguard them from high heat or cold as it could aggravate angina, heart attack, congestive heart failure or tachyarrhythmias (fast and irregular heart beat).
- The elderly need to be protected from any emotional disturbance as this may also have an adverse effect on their cardiac functioning.
It is important for the elderly to make appropriate changes in their lifestyle and lead a healthy life to protect themselves from any heart disease.
Some tips to safeguard are:
- Regular medical check-ups
- Take a healthy diet
- Regulate Blood Pressure and Cholesterol levels
- Maintain ideal weight
- Avoid smoking
- Reduce stress
- Get involved in Exercise and Yoga
- Decrease salt consumption
- Stay away from fried food, pickles, etc.
With some care and adequate precaution, the elderly can rightly protect their heart and lead a healthy life.