Our hearts pump so that they distribute blood to supply every part of our bodies. As we age, our hearts may have limitations put on it that does not allow it to pump blood as efficiently – especially when it has to work harder in the process.
According to the NIH (National Institute of Health) website, some of the things that could potentially make your heart work harder include the following:
- Certain medications
- Emotional stress
- Extreme physical exertion
Some of the problems these changes can make include the following problems:
- Angina (chest pain caused by temporarily reduced blood flow to the heart muscle), shortness of breath with exertion, and heart attack can result from coronary artery disease.
- Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) of various types can occur.
- Anemia may occur, possibly related to malnutrition, chronic infections, blood loss from the gastrointestinal tract, or as a complication of other diseases or medications.
- Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is very common. Fatty plaque deposits inside the blood vessels cause them to narrow and can totally block blood vessels.
- Congestive heart failure is also very common in the elderly. In people older than 75, congestive heart failure occurs 10 times more often than in younger adults.
- Coronary artery disease is fairly common. It is often a result of arteriosclerosis.
- High blood pressure and orthostatic hypotension are more common with older age.
- Heart valve diseases are fairly common. Aortic stenosis, or narrowing of the aortic valve, is the most common valve disease in the elderly.
- Transient ischemic attacks (TIA) or strokes can occur if blood flow to the brain is disrupted.
Additional problems that may occur with the heart and blood vessels include the following:
- Blood clots
- Peripheral vascular disease, resulting in intermittent pain in the legs when walking (claudication)
- Varicose veins
We hear about these issues practically daily. It is good for caregivers to keep up with their clients’ health issues and know exactly what type of issues could stem from these medical difficulties. The more we know, the better the care we can provide. After all, With Age Comes Respect!