5 Effects of Aging on Heart Health

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The cardiovascular system consists of the heart and the various parts that help it function well. It’s an essential system that keeps blood flowing to all parts of the body, and it can also be affected by some of the things commonly associated with aging. Here are five ways this can happen and some tips for minimizing the possible impact on an older cardiovascular system.


1. Blood Vessel Changes

Arterial blood vessels in the heart naturally lose elasticity with age, which may cause these vessels to become wider or stiffer and cause unexpected dips in blood pressure. Age-related blood vessel changes may also explain why seniors are more likely to experience a drop in blood pressure when going from a resting to a standing position.

What to do: With mild issues of this nature, seniors may benefit from lying back down for a minute until lightheadedness or dizziness subsides. Medication may help as well.


2. Reduced Immune System Functions

Special types of white blood cells that help with immune system functions gradually decrease in number with age. When this happens, an older body becomes less capable of fighting off infections. This may also increase susceptibility to infectious diseases or seasonal illnesses, some of which may affect the cardiovascular system.

What to do: Seniors can boost their immune system capabilities by getting sufficient sleep, eating more fruits, veggies, and lean proteins, and exercising regularly.

If your loved one needs help adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, a professional caregiver can be a fantastic resource. At-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.


3. Age-Related Weight Gain

Muscle tissue gradually gets replaced with fat. When this happens, it becomes difficult for older adults to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. According to a CDC study covering 2007–2010, nearly 40 percent of the adults 65 and older who were evaluated were considered obese. Obesity is also a common risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death among adults, according to the CDC.

What to do: Being mindful of eating and exercise habits is one way to keep weight in check later in life. Daily walking and water-based activities can also help seniors achieve this goal. 

A professional caregiver with training in nutrition and healthy lifestyle practices can be a wonderful source of information and encouragement for your loved one. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Frederick Assisting Hands Home Care can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.


4. Elevated Blood Pressure

It’s estimated that up to 70 percent of older adults in the United States have high blood pressure, or hypertension. The American Heart Association (AHA) is one of several leading organizations that note blood pressure naturally elevates with age, but it’s not clear why this happens. However, it could be due to age-related changes in blood vessels, such as gradual narrowing.

What to do: Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, managing stress, adopting a heart-friendly low-sodium diet, and getting about 2 1/2 hours of moderate physical activity per week are some of the steps seniors can take to control blood pressure better.


5. Poor Circulation

Many older adults have at least one chronic health condition, and the ones most common in seniors—diabetes and heart disease—are associated with reduced circulation. Poor circulation also affects the heart’s ability to effectively send blood throughout the body. What this could do is impact mobility and the ability to heal and recover from injuries, illnesses, or surgery. 

What to do: Older adults can boost circulation by staying active, managing chronic conditions, staying hydrated, and eating fatty fish and other healthy foods that naturally ease inflammation. A professional caregiver can provide additional support for your efforts to help your loved one adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Frederick families can trust. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. If your loved one needs professional care, Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us today.