Aging and the Human Heart
The Human Heart is a Strong Muscle
The human heart is mainly strong muscle tissue. The heart is an amazing organ that rhythmically pumps blood throughout the body 24/7. The heart contains two pumps. One pump carries blood from the heart to the arteries throughout the body. The other pump brings blood back to the heart via the veins. This beautiful scenario runs by way of an electrically charged arrangement in the heart that is the energy that keeps the heart beating like the ticking of a clock. When you feel your pulse you are feeling how your heart is beating. Some parts of the body can rest, but never the heart.
Aging Leads to Diseases in the Heart
Heart Disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Aging can lead to heart disease. However, heart disease can often be prevented by lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and following a heart healthy diet. Some heart diseased states are:
Arteriosclerosis is commonly called “hardening of the arteries” but it can be a narrowing of the arteries due to a buildup of plaque inside the arteries called atherosclerosis. This forces the heart to work harder which leads to a rise in blood pressure. Sometimes the plaque builds up to the point where it can cause an obstruction and this can lead to a heart attack.
Stiffening of the Aorta and other Blood Vessels
This in turn can cause some of the walls in the heart to thicken.
Stiffening of Heart Valves
Stiffening can cause the valves of the heart to leak or cause problems for the heart to pump out blood.
Some of the sections of the heart may get enlarged
Enlargement means the heart is straining and working harder to pump blood.
Rapid or Irregular Heart Beat
Atrial fibrillation is one of the problems that can lead to an irregular heart beat. Research suggests this can be healed by losing weight.
A family history of heart disease and other genetic factors can lead to heart disease.
Lifestyle can Help Prevent Heart Disease
- Don’t smoke. Smoking is one of the main risk factors for heart disease.
- Keep your weight under control. Obesity puts a strain on the heart and makes it work harder.
- Follow a heart healthy diet. Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Eat a lot of fish, less poultry and even less red meat. Avoid processed meats. Avoid fried greasy foods and junk food. Choose a heart healthy oil like extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) as your only oil. Scientific research has shown that EVOO is heart healthy.
- Make sure you get enough physical exercise. Don’t spend hours sitting. If you work at a desk get up a lot.
- Don’t drink alcoholic beverages, especially in excess.
- If you are a diabetic keep your glucose levels under control.
- Try to find ways of coping with stress.
Symptoms of Heart Disease
Many of these symptoms can also be from other problems. However, you should see your doctor who can send you for tests to see if you are suffering from heart disease.
- Shoulder, arm, jaw, neck or back pain
- Shortness of breath when physically active, but also at rest
- Chest pain when physically active that gets better when resting
- Feeling light-headed
- Feeling Dizzy
- Cold sweats
- Getting tired and fatigued too easily
- Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, neck and stomach
- Problems doing your normal routine
Heart disease can lead to the need for Open Heart Surgeries, Coronary By-Passes and other procedures.
Following surgery or recovering from a heart attack you might go to a short-term rehabilitation facility for cardiac rehabilitation. This involves physical exercises, learning to cope with stress and making lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and following a heart healthy diet.
Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center, Brooklyn NY
Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center in Brooklyn a 5 star facility is known for its outstanding cardiac rehabilitation therapy.
Brooklyn Hospitals near Ditmas Park Rehab Center
NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn (formerly named NYU Lutheran Medical Center)
Aging can lead to heart disease, especially if there are bad lifestyle habits like smoking. Heart Disease is the number one cause of death and yet much of this could be prevented by lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and following a heart healthy diet.