Anti aging guide

The Heart Disease and Old Age



Does the heart deteriorate and how it can affect on the human body especially in old age?

We cannot distinguish between the intrinsic and inescapable effects of the passing years on the human body, the ravages of common age-related diseases, and the results of giving up physical activity on retirement or earlier. Viewed under the microscope, heart muscle does not alter much except for the accumulation of the brownish waste product called lipofuscin in the cells and deposits of another waste product, amyloid, between the cells. In general, these materials seem to be virtually harmless. The specialized network of cells which conducts the impulse to the different parts of the heart muscle to produce a co-ordinated heartbeat may be infiltrated by fibrous tissue, and this can have serious consequences as we shall see. Finally, the mitral and aortic valves may have deposits of calcium on their leaflets which can interfere with the effectiveness of the valves.

Nevertheless, the healthy heart continues to pump the blood around the circulatory system perfectly satisfactorily into extreme old age. It is widely accepted that the amount of blood pumped per minute declines because the output per beat is diminished, but it has recently been claimed that the cardiac output and the volume per beat do not inevitably fall in fit subjects spared coronary artery disease. Faced with the increased demands imposed by physical exertion, the old heart cannot respond with such a large increase in rate as a young one, and the maximum consumption of oxygen does seem to decline inevitably by 1 per cent a year from the age of 30 onwards. It may be true that the average woman of 75 is performing to her maximum aerobic capacity when simply walking at 3 mph (about 5 km per hour), but a fit person at 70 has the same oxygen carrying capacity as an unfit person of 30.

Posted by Carol Hudgens - May 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm