Common heart problems in elderly


The Heart is the center of life. At every point in the human lifetime, the body relies on the cardiovascular system to transport nutrients, oxygen, and hormones to cells throughout the body. Our circulatory system is also responsible for removing metabolic wastes such as carbon dioxide and nitrogenous wastes that prove detrimental to overall health.

In the long run, the cardiovascular system helps the body to meet the demands of activity, exercise, and stress. It also helps maintain body temperature, among other things (Klieman, Hyde, & Berra, 2006).

Sadly, Normal ageing affects the performance of the cardiovascular system in humans. As one approaches the 70 age bracket, it is quite natural that the heart and blood vessels stiffen, which see older adults quite unable to take on strenuous activities (Olive, 2015). Today, some common heart problems in the elderly include high blood pressure, Coronary artery disease, and heart failure (Olive, 2015). 

Apart from the natural causal factor, octogenarians mostly have their medical, nutritional, and physical experience between the age-span of 30 to 40 years to stake for their present heart condition and wellbeing.

 Early comorbidities like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, emotional problems, and neurologic impairment can contribute to chronic heart conditions as adults advance in age (Klieman, Hyde, & Berra, 2006).


Today, heart failure is one dreadful and prevalent type of heart condition which has accounted for a large percentage of mortality ratio in older adults across the globe.

A heart attack happens when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This occurs when the coronary arteries are clogged from a buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances that together are called plaque. As connoted in the preceding paragraph, this buildup does not happen instantaneously. It normally kicks-off slowly and progressively in childhood before fastening up in the early 30s. However, accumulations pose dangerous as from the 50s or 60s (Olive, 2015).

More so, the rapid process of blocked arteries caused by plaque is known as atherosclerosis. In overalls, where an artery supposed to supply the heart or brain is blocked by plaque, a heart attack or stroke occurs (Olive, 2015).

Chest pain or chest discomfort is currently noted as a common heart attack symptom in women; however, both genders may experience nausea, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath as a reliable indicator of a looming heart attack.

From the foregoing, it gradually gets clearer why all age brackets must undertake stringent therapies to curb cardiovascular health risk. Once saddled with a heart condition at old age, older adults can observe a multifaceted approach to their diet and lifestyle to contain the risk of heart attacks and diseases.  


Being active is the best way to slow the loss of muscle and maintain your aerobic capacity. Although where it is yet to be established that exercise reduces morbidity, exercise has seen nexus with decreased coronary risk factors, improved survival, and improved quality of life. This is because regular aerobic physical activity increases the body’s functional capacity by building strength, muscle mass, and bone mineral density (W & Bussy C, 2005).

Favourable trends have seen a direct relationship between physical inactivity and cardiovascular mortality. Apart from physical body functioning, exercise also stimulates various indexes of psychological functioning that basically promote the mobility, mood, and emotions of adults over sedentary tendencies. 

Cardiac rehabilitation programs are also a go-to resort for older women and men hunted by heart attack symptoms. It is recommended that older adults take cognizance of their chronological age, their health status before choosing a fitness plan. The cardiovascular goal will always be evident in the rapid increase of strength, resistance, and flexibility of participating adults (Klieman, Hyde, & Berra, 2006).


Amongst other vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that reduces inflammation throughout the body. This way, it reduces blood clotting, as well as the risk of strokes and heart failure.

 An experiment conducted on the effect of fish oil on irregular heartbeats concluded that fish oil consumption directly or indirectly affects cardiac electrophysiology in humans (Daniel, Howard, & Athur, 2015).

Omega 3 fish oil benefits can also be enjoyed from rich vitamin supplements in capsule and liquid form, which may also bear other immune support functions (Dariush, Geelen, & Katan, 2005). Other sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include Walnuts, Canola oil, Soybeans, cereals, pasta, dairy, and other food products fortified with omega-3 fatty acids.


Another step further in containing the risk of cardiovascular diseases involve the avoidance of harmful consumptions. A plethora of evidence now has it that dietary saturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and trans-fatty acids cause plaque buildups and atherosclerosis. Consequently, it is recommended to consume more soluble fibres of 10 to 25 grams per day while reducing carbohydrate intake to less than 60% of total calories consumed (Klieman, Hyde, & Berra, 2006).

Smoking plays a big role in the progression of atherosclerosis in coronary arteries. Habits such as smoking stimulate the formulation of fatty deposits and accelerate the growth of plaque. Another habit is the intake of alcohol (Klieman, Hyde, & Berra, 2006). 

Excessive alcohol increases the risk factor for hypertension. It is widely recommended that women take 12 ounces of beer per day while their male counterparts opt for 24 ounces to curtail hypertension and heart attack symptoms (Klieman, Hyde, & Berra, 2006). 


The road to perfect cardiovascular health always starts now. Older adults and young ones alike must be mindful of lifestyle habits and nutrition that results in plaque buildups of coronary arteries. Fitness is also for every age, irrespective of the pace. Older adults demand regular aerobic physical activity to foster a full-functioning circulatory system.

Works Cited

Daniel, Howard, E., & Athur. (2015, November). Fish Oil for the Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease. Retrieved from ncbi: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217043/

Dariush, Geelen, & Katan, a. M. (2005, September 19). Effect of Fish Oil on Heart Rate in Humans. Retrieved from Ahajournals: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/circulationaha.105.556886

Klieman, Hyde, & Berra. (2006). Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, S27 – S39.

Olive, S. (2015, July 31). cholesterol and atherosclerosis. Retrieved from Heart: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol/atherosclerosis

W, A., & Bussy C, B. J. (2005, November 22). Prevention of cardiovascular events in elderly people. Retrieved from Drugs Aging: https://www.nursingcenter.com/journalarticle?Article_ID=668073&Journal_ID=54006&Issue_ID=668060#P77

Michael F. O
Author: Michael F. O

Michael F.O is a ravenous health writer with over five years of experience. He has to himself a chain of certification ranging from a university degree in Biochemistry to other professional honors. Th...


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