As the body ages, it undergoes many physiological changes—and the heart is no exception. Medical researchers have found that with each passing decade, the muscular walls of the heart thicken, heart rate slows, maximum heart rate decreases, and heart efficiency progressively diminishes. The heart muscle is also unable to relax as quickly as in its youth, making it less able to keep up with the needs of rigorous physical activity. All of these effects can be worsened through chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure.
The arteries, or the blood vessels that deliver blood from the heart to the tissues, can also suffer from the aging process. As we grow older, the artery walls become stiffer and thicker. These changes, along with the buildup of fatty plaques from high levels of LDL cholesterol, contribute to an increased risk for deadly medical events such as high blood pressure and stroke.
Fortunately, medical scientists have also found that lifestyle factors can contribute to cardiovascular health just as much as the aging process. A person who exercises regularly, eats well, and manages their other risk factors for heart disease is much less likely to suffer from the adverse effects of aging as early as someone who does not. Physical activity is especially beneficial in promoting the continued efficiency of the heart and strengthening of its muscle. Committing to a regular exercise regimen has also shown to improve the health of the arteries and delay the effects of atherosclerosis.
If you are concerned about your cardiovascular health and would like to learn more about managing your risk factors, consider scheduling a consultation with one of the heart care experts at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center. For over four decades, our Heart Center has provided cutting-edge, comprehensive healthcare to the men and women of our community. Call us today at (877) 888-5746 to locate a physician near you.