How The Heart Changes with Age

The heart is an incredible organ that works hard each day to pump your blood. As you grow older; however, the heart will undergo a number of changes. If you’ve been to a heart clinic to undergo an evaluation or discuss a treatment plan for a heart health concern, it can be helpful to understand some of the changes that can occur with age. For a more in-depth explanation of your heart health, see your cardiologist.

Senior patient getting ultrasound from doctor

Decrease In Heart Rate
Seniors are more likely to have a slower heart rate because over the years, the heart’s natural pacemaker system can develop fat deposits. The natural pacemaker can lose some cells, causing a decline in heart rate.

Development of Arrhythmias
As you grow older, you’re at a  higher risk of developing an arrhythmia . An arrhythmia occurs when the heart beats irregularly, too quickly, or too slowly. Arrhythmias may occur when the electrical impulses from the heart’s natural pacemaker are blocked or are abnormal. Those with an overactive thyroid gland or a personal history of heart disease, heart attack, or heart failure are at an increased risk of arrhythmias.

Increase In Heart Size
Through the years, the muscle of the heart wall becomes slightly thicker, particularly in the area of the left ventricle. This causes a small increase in the overall size of the heart. However, because there is a little less room for blood in the chamber due to thickening walls, the heart may fill with blood a little more slowly.

Stiffening of Heart Valves and Vessels
Older adults are more likely to have stiffened, narrower blood vessels. This leads to higher blood pressure readings and forces the heart to work harder to pump blood. Older adults may also have thickened or stiffer heart valves. A cardiologist may detect this condition by listening for a heart murmur.

The team at  Cardiac Solutions  is dedicated to providing comprehensive patient education to help you better understand how to care for your heart. Explore our website for more information on heart health or give us a call at (623) 208-5305 to learn about upcoming patient classes. With convenient locations in Glendale, Phoenix, Avondale, and Peoria, you’re sure to find a heart clinic near you.

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