Heart disease in the elderly

Heart disease in the elderly


General health deteriorates with age. But the most common pathologies are precisely heart disease in old age. In terms of prevalence, they outstrip even bronchopulmonary diseases, although they are caused by common causes. These are natural aging processes, due to which the vessels become more rigid, the regulation of their tone is disturbed, blood pressure rises, and the internal organs receive less oxygen. Sometimes bronchopulmonary diseases mask cardiovascular pathologies, and they are detected already at severe stages. The professional care and regular medical check-ups offered by the nursing home allow you to start treatment on time.

Age-related changes in the heart and blood vessels


The first plaques on the walls of the coronary vessels of the heart begin to appear after 25 years. In youth, this process goes without consequences, but over time it can lead to atherosclerosis. And this is not the only change that occurs in old age. The heart increases in size, its walls thicken, the volume of the left ventricle changes. Due to the thickening of the wall, blood flow decreases, the heart chamber fills up more slowly, and in general, the efficiency of the heart is noticeably reduced. In old age:

The contractile ability of the heart muscle decreases. Over the years, the number of myocardial cells decreases, since they do not have the ability to self-renew. As a result, the dead cells are replaced by connective tissue, and the remaining cardiomyocytes have a heavy load. But often they cannot provide normal contractions.
The work of the heart valves is impaired. Most of all, this affects the work of the aortic valve and mitral valve, which lose their former flexibility. If calcium deposits appear, this indicator decreases even more, and the valve apparatus cannot evenly distribute blood throughout the cardiac cavities.
Heart rate beats. For blood transfusion, impulses are needed, they are generated by special cells of the cardiac conduction system. Since their number decreases over the years, the heart rhythm is disturbed.

All this leads to the development of various diseases – from hypertension to atherosclerosis.

What heart diseases do older people face?


Even those who lead a healthy lifestyle have problems over the years. All common heart diseases in the elderly can be divided into three groups:

pathologies associated with dysfunction of the valve (heart disease);
disruption of the heart muscle;
vascular pathologies and the consequences caused by them (this is, first of all, hypertension, coronary heart disease and its complications).
The greatest danger is posed by atherosclerosis, atheroma and coronary heart disease (hereinafter – IHD).

Atherosclerosis in the elderly


Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease, and it develops slowly enough to be able to take action and prevent dangerous consequences. In atherosclerosis, lipoproteins are deposited in the blood vessels. After some time, the proliferation of connective tissue begins, plaques form, and this leads to a decrease in the lumen of the vessels. As a result, the blood supply to all tissues is disrupted. Blood clots are especially dangerous because they can block the blood flow.

One of the features of atherosclerosis is that it affects not only the aorta, but also the renal and cerebral arteries. And these organs in elderly people require special attention.

Risk factors for atherosclerosis are:

high blood pressure

high blood pressure above 140/90 mm Hg;
diabetes;
obesity, mainly of the abdominal type, in which fat deposits accumulate in the abdomen;
high cholesterol levels.
Where the arteries experience the greatest hemodynamic load, fatty plaques are deposited on the walls and scars appear. Such a change in the walls is called atheroma. Over the years, calcium accumulates in it, this leads to a thinning of the walls of blood vessels, and under an unfavorable combination of circumstances, atheroma rupture may occur. Pieces of blood clot and fatty deposits with blood flow can move throughout the arterial system, leading to damage to internal organs.

This can be avoided by following a therapeutic diet, controlling weight, and performing a set of exercises. It is difficult to trace this at home. But a private boarding house that provides paid care for the elderly provides such an opportunity.

Features of coronary heart disease in old age


IHD is one of the most common cardiac pathologies. Its development is due to vasoconstriction, due to which, over time, the work of the heart is disrupted. His physical damage is also possible. Moreover, the heart muscle suffers the most. But even if it continues to work, albeit not as efficiently as in a healthy person, the body begins to suffer from a lack of oxygen.

Often the development of atherosclerosis leads to such a situation. Therefore, ischemic disease is caused by the same factors – high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, overweight.

The features of the manifestation of ischemic heart disease in old age are:

Lack of bright emotional coloring of attacks.


Unusual pain sensations – they arise on the left, but give to the neck, back of the head and lower jaw, which is why the patient does not immediately turn to the cardiologist.
No intense pain. A person feels squeezing in the region of the heart, heaviness on this side, a feeling of squeezing in the chest and even the shoulder joint.
Sharp jumps in blood pressure, sometimes – neurological disorders, the appearance of shortness of breath.
On the one hand, in older people, the picture of coronary artery disease is often blurred, there are no strong manifestations. On the other hand, signs of illness at this age may appear in the morning after little physical activity.

IHD develops in various forms, the most common are myocardial infarction, angina pectoris and heart failure, which will be discussed below.

Angina pectoris and its features


Considering the clinical forms of ischemic heart disease in the elderly, it is worth starting with angina pectoris. This pathology is due to the fact that an insufficient volume of blood is supplied to the myocardium. This can be caused by a narrowing of the vascular lumen due to atherosclerosis. But sometimes the reasons are vasospasm due to:

Sudden changes in temperature or atmospheric pressure. Air humidity also affects.
Regular overeating. When the gastrointestinal tract is full, the diaphragm is too high and the blood supply to the heart is impaired due to bloating.
Excessive physical activity, not appropriate for age and health.
Improper nutrition with a predominance of fatty foods.

When the first signs of angina pectoris appear (these are mainly pressing pains behind the sternum on the left), you need to consult a doctor who will prescribe:

drug therapy;
a set of exercises for therapeutic gymnastics;
adherence to a diet directed against the development of atherosclerosis (sometimes it is necessary to additionally arrange fasting days).
If the patient lives alone, it is difficult to monitor compliance with these measures. Another thing is the Dobro private home for the elderly, where experienced staff will measure blood pressure and control the intake of pills. In addition, a balanced diet is provided, taking into account the personal recommendations of a nutritionist.

Myocardial infarction in old age


An acute attack of coronary artery disease can lead to myocardial infarction. This is a disease in which a portion of the heart muscle dies off due to insufficient blood supply. In the future, a scar appears at this place. Usually, a heart attack is caused by blockage of the coronary vessels. This is due to a detached blood clot. He, in turn, is a consequence of long-term body fat.

The classic symptom of a heart attack is the appearance of severe pain in the center of the chest. She is described in different ways – as squeezing, crushing, dull. As with angina pectoris, it radiates to the left arm, jaw, or neck. The difference is that in this case, the pain is stronger, its attacks last longer. Sometimes there is a feeling of squeezing the heart itself.

Human skin turns pale, becomes moist. Pulse is weak, but rapid. Blood pressure can be either low or high. If a large area of ​​the heart muscle is damaged , then other symptoms appear – cyanosis of the skin, which occurs due to a lack of oxygen, shortness of breath.

Myocardial infarction in old age

The pre-infarction period can last for a long time, from several days to one and a half months. If signs of the disease are detected in time, then its further development can be prevented, that is, the death of myocardial cells will not occur. But for this, the patient must be under constant supervision – for example, in a private boarding house “Dobro”.

If it was not possible to prevent the development of the disease, then an acute period begins, which on average lasts about 10 days. This is followed by a subacute and postinfracture period. At this time, the patient also needs special care, since his condition is stabilized, but at the same time, his relapse can occur. It is required to follow a diet, take the remedies prescribed by a doctor, avoid physical exertion and stress, and do not make sudden movements.

The private boarding house will provide professional care with constant monitoring of blood pressure and pulse – at least three times a day. After a few weeks, if the doctor permits, it will be possible to start training. Psychological support and social rehabilitation play an important role at this stage.

Heart failure


This clinical form of ischemic heart disease refers to a condition in which the heart cannot provide normal blood supply to other organs. Heart failure develops as a consequence of not only IJS, but also myocarditis – an inflammatory disease of the heart muscle, acquired heart defects, and some rheumatic pathologies.

For treatment, it is necessary to conduct constant monitoring of the ECG, regularly do stress tests, etc. Treatment is provided mainly for medication, and methods such as adherence to a special diet and drinking regimen, weight loss, and rejection of bad habits are also provided. But both a balanced diet and adequate sleep play an important role.

Arrhythmia in old age


Over the years, the heart rhythm is disturbed. It can slow down (bradycardia) or become more frequent (tachycardia), distinguish between such conduction disturbances and the occurrence of an electrical impulse. This form of the disease is called extrasystole.

Arrhythmia is rarely a disease in its own right. But it is often a symptom of other problems in the body, such as heart disease or respiratory disease. If an arrhythmia is detected, the doctor prescribes additional diagnostics.

Heart defects


This group of diseases is caused by a malfunction of one or more valves. Sometimes a bacterial infection is the cause, but more often acquired heart defects are caused by atherosclerosis. The main symptoms are headache, drops in blood pressure, shortness of breath, pain in the back.

At the initial stage of the development of the disease, conservative treatment is possible. But if the symptoms of heart failure are increasing, you will have to undergo surgery. After surgery, the patient needs to provide a comfortable rehabilitation period. At this time, he must be under constant medical supervision.

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