Heart and ageing
The number of older people worldwide continues to rise. Indeed, till 2017 there will be more people over 65 than children under 5. Consequently, taking care of the heart of older people is without doubt one of the great priorities in public health.
Today,there are a series of well-known characteristics which prove the ageing of the heart muscle. Among them are :
- loss of elasticity
- loss of contractility
- the lipofuscin (indicative of intercellular lipid peroxidation), a metabolic waste product which creates the famous age spots, and which accumulates in the organism
- the number of mitochondria decreases – these “power plants”, which are producing the energy of the cells
- the cardiac output decreases between 30 to 40%, and the tolerance for physical effort is reduced
- the conduction system will have reduced numbers of its cells. In addition, it is invaded by fibrous tissues, causing troubles
- the rings of the heart valves are calcifying and can be the origin of non-pathogens heart murmur
There are differences when the ageing heart evaluates more or less to hypertrophy. The principal modulator factor is the sex. Being prone to hypertrophy is essentially evident among men “who loose appr. One gram of the myocard per year”. On the other hand, diabetes, obesity and AHT become accerlerating factors of this process, whereas sport makes it slow-down.
However, even after 75 years old, the heart maintains the potential of renewal