Age brings with it a lot of changes. Some of them are visible, like greying hair and wrinkles. But, others you can’t see. Many of the body’s internal systems undergo changes as well. One system that changes is the cardiovascular system, which includes the heart and blood vessels. Understanding how the cardiovascular system changes with age can make it easier for caregivers to know what is normal and when an older adult needs medical attention.
Overview of the Cardiovascular System
The heart is comprised of two sides. The right side of the heart delivers blood to the lungs to receive oxygen and be cleaned of carbon dioxide. The left side sends the blood that is carrying oxygen to the rest of the body. The blood moving away from the heart moves through arteries. These arteries get smaller and smaller as they branch toward tissues, finally turning into capillaries that feed the tissues with oxygen and nutrients. The blood returns to the heart via veins.
How the Heart Changes
Aging causes some changes in the heart, but other changes may be caused by disease. Age-related changes to the heart include:
- The heart of an older person cannot beat as fast as it once did during physical activity. The heart may beat just a little more slowly at rest, too.
- The heart gets a bit larger, with thicker walls and larger chambers. This happens mainly because of an increase in size of the muscle cells in the heart.
- An ECG performed on an older person will look a bit different than one performed on a younger person. The heartbeat of an older person may not be as regular as that of a younger person. This change could also be caused by heart disease.
- The valves of the heart may become a little more stiff and thicken. This can cause a heart murmur.
How Blood Vessels Change
Like the heart, blood vessels change with age, too. Some changes that can happen are:
- The walls of arteries may get thicker and the space in the arteries might increase a bit.
- The elastic tissue in the arteries may diminish, making arteries stiffer.
- The loss of elasticity in the blood vessels may cause blood pressure to rise.
Some of the changes to the heart and blood vessels can be delayed by exercising regularly. A home care provider can help your aging family member to remain more physically active. Home care providers can take walks with them or drive them to group fitness classes. A home care provider can also monitor the senior when they exercise at home to ensure their safety.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Far West Houston, TX, please call the caring staff at At Your Side Home Care. We will answer all of your senior care questions. Call today: (832) 271-1600.
Our Certified Nurse Aides, 24-Hour Live-in Assistants and Home Health Aides are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We also provide the security and confidence of 24-hour Telephone Assistance, so fast, reliable help is always available when it's needed. To learn more about our homecare services see our homecare services page.
Different people need different levels of homecare. To meet the requirements of our clients, At Your Side Homecare maintains consistent staffing levels of caring professionals. Homecare service is available for as little as a few hours a week, or as many as 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Latest posts by Donna Wrabel, LMSW (see all)
- 5 Tips That Help Seniors Beat the Summer Heat - July 17, 2018
- Can You Help Your Aging Adult with Her Dental Care? - July 16, 2018
- Tips for Keeping a Clean House - July 6, 2018