As was stated on the entry for May 31st, the heart has two chambers and has its own natural pacemaker built right in. When changes occur to the blood vessels of the heart, and deposits of fat are in them, the heart tends to slow its rate.
Other changes to the heart include:
- A slight increase in the size of the heart. Many times this can be to the left ventricle. This is because the heart wall thickens so that the amount of blood that the heart chamber holds may actually decrease even though the actual size of the heart is larger. The heart fills slower due to these changes.
- Abnormal rhythms can occur in older adults. These rhythms are called arrhythmias. They can potentially lead to heart disease although there are other instances like ARVD that can occur in younger people and actually take their lives before they reach older age.
- Lipofuscin, otherwise referred to as the “aging pigment,” can cause normal changes in a person’s heart. It can cause the heart muscle cells to slightly degenerate and the valves inside the heart to thicken and become stiffer. When they stiffen, they direction of the blood flow changes. Elder people may also develop a heart murmur caused by the valve stiffness.
Knowing about these changes to the heart in older people can help us caregivers to show our clients respect since they are aging. That is because we know that With Age Come Respect.