There is a huge connection with our heart and aging for one simple reason; it is starting to become weaker with every year.
However, the connection also includes our blood and blood vessels, and if they become compromised, it will have huge impacts on our heart.
While the changes that will naturally occur with this magnificent organ and the process of getting older are inevitable, there are several of them that can be slowed and controlled.
The reason for this will be the lifestyle that we have lived, and if have undertaken some bad habits, modification can easily control most of the changes.
However, if we choose not to modify as we get older, the connection with aging and our heart will not be a matter of if, it will be a matter of when damage begins to occur.
To fully understand this connection, it is very helpful to understand how this miraculous organ works.
It has two sides, and the right side pumps our blood into our lungs to gives it the oxygen we need to live, and once there, it also eliminates any carbon dioxide.
The left side, in turn, pumps our blood, enriched by oxygen, to the rest of our body.
This is made possible by our arteries, which are like branches of a tree that get smaller until they go into our tissues.
Once in our tissues, they become minuet forms referred to as capillaries.
It is these capillaries that give the much needed oxygen as well as nutrients to our tissues. Once there, they help to send back both carbon dioxide as well as waste.
However, as we get older, some natural changes are beginning to happen and this is where the connection with our heart and aging begins.
Here are the changes that are occurring.
We have all heard of the term “pacemaker” and some of us older than 55 may even have one.
However, when the connection with our heart and aging begins, it all starts with our natural pacemaker.
Each of us has a natural built in pacemaker that is just as miraculous as our heart.
However, as we get older, it begins to lose some of its control over how it beats, as fat tissues as well as fibrous tissues begin to develop.
It is also referred to as the SA node, and it is also beginning to lose some of its cells like the rest of our organs, and this causes this major organ to beat just a bit slower.
This major organ also begins to become slightly larger, as the walls beginning to become thicker.
Once this occurs, the amount of blood it can hold decreases, as well as filling more slowly with blood.
Our EGC may also begin to slow which may allow abnormal rhythms to begin to develop.
The aging pigment is better known as lipofuscin, which is where the cells of this key organ are beginning to degenerate.
This is what can lead to murmurs of this key organ.
The connection between our heart and aging also involves our blood vessels and these changes include the following.
We all have what are referred to as “baroreceptors” that naturally help to control our blood pressure.
This receptor is critical as it senses when we change position or do any kind of activity.
However, as we begin to age, it loses some of its sensitivity and is the major reason why we may get dizzy when we stand up after setting for long periods.
Our capillary walls also begin to become thicker, which slows down both the elimination of waste as well as carbon dioxide.
The next connection with our heart and aging will center on our blood and the following changes.
Our blood as we all begin to age, changes slightly, for one simple reason; our total body water amounts are decreasing.
The average adult body is made up of between 57% and 60% water, and as we age, this level also decreases slightly.
Not only does this put us at a higher degree of risk of dehydration, if also affects our blood.
As our water levels drop, it affects the fluid in our bloodstream, and once this begins to happen, it is only a matter of time before our blood volume decreases.
Our red blood cells also slow down their production as a result of any type of illness or stress, and if we lose any amount of blood, it will not be replaced like it once was.
While our white bloods cells do not diminish in numbers as we age, they do lose some of their ability to fight off invaders such as bacteria like they once did.
As we all get older, these changes we are experiencing can be amplified by some types of medications, stress, most all illnesses, as well as physical exertion.
This is the major reason that as we age, we must continue to stay active and drink at least 6-8 glasses of water daily.
Here is the first list of problems we may face with our heart and aging.
As we get older and we begin to experience a slightly reduced flow of blood to this key organ, we may begin to experience slight chest pains.
This is also known as Angina, and generally surfaces with even slight exertion that never used to bother us.
Congestive heart failure is one of the most common conditions we will face, and it is estimated that over 6 million of us older that 60 either have it, or will develop it.
There are several medications that we may be taking at our ages that can and do lead to anemia, as well as not eating correctly or having some form of stomach or digestive problem.
Hardening of our arteries, better known as Arteriosclerosis, is also very common as we get older.
The next list of potential problems with our heart and aging include the following.
High blood pressure is common in all age groups, but as we all get older, it primary target is us.
Arteriosclerosis, if not controlled, can and will easily lead to coronary heart disease. Aortic stenosis, narrowing of our aortic valve, is also very common as are blood clots.
Our heart and aging have very strong connections, and as we all get older, we need to eat the right diet, exercise, and drink plenty of fluids.
If we have smoked and drank most of our lives, it will only be a matter of time before we have to make a decision to modify or quit, to protect this all important organ.
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As we get older we must test it at least 2-3 times per week.
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