NewZNew (S A S Nagar) : Around 110 senior citizens from the tricity attended an informative session on ‘Cardio-Vascular Problems in elderly’ held at Max Super Specialty Hospital Mohali today. The main speaker at the session was Dr Deepak Puri, Director, Cardio Vascular and Thoracic Surgery. “There are several physiological changes which occur in ageing heart which cause heart to relax less between beats due to increasing stiffness of heart muscles and responsiveness to stimulation and crises becomes less. At the same times the walls of blood vessels become less elastic due to deposition of cholesterol and responsiveness to postural changes become less efficient.” He said during the talk.
As age progresses elderly people become more prone to isolated systolic rise in blood pressure which means the upper level of blood pressure increases while the lower or diastolic level may remain same . The severity of the blockage of arteries due to deposition of fat increases as one grows older which makes them more prone to heart attacks and stroke. Apart from this, the aging process also causes degenerative changes in valves of the heart which normally prevent back flow of blood , informed Dr Puri.
The most common cause of illness and death in elderly is heart attacks which are caused by blockage of the arteries carrying oxygenated blood and nutrition to the heart. Among the patients who die after heart attacks 81 % are above the age of 65.Talking about the risk factors contribution to heart attack, he said these were high blood pressure,diabetes,obesity and physical inactivity all increase with increasing age. Moreover increasing age lowers the efficiency of all organs of the body especially the kidneys and the lungs because of which the elderly patients are more prone to have respiratory complications and kidney failure.
There is a tendency of elderly patients to delay or avoid treatment of heart diseases, especially interventions like stenting and bypass surgery mainly due to fear of complications of associated multiple diseases as well as financial constraints. However studies have shown that the outcome is good after interventions in elderly patients even if they have high or moderate risk, added Dr Puri .
However though complication rate may be higher and recovery slower in elderly patients yet the chances of survival and improvement of quality of life are more after active intervention as compared to conservative medical management. The metabolism of medicines also changes in elderly and chances of side effects also increase with age. This is often seen with medicines given to lower blood pressure and though controlling blood pressure reduces risk of stroke and heart attack still at times we need to control blood pressure more gradually.
Winters cause a steep rise in the incidence of heart attacks and strokes and is especially harsh for the elderly population. Therefore elderly need to take more precautions to protect themselves from exposure to extreme cold by wearing adequate clothing, avoiding going outdoors during the dark, avoid strenuous activity in winter, take proper medication and seek medical help at the earliest indication of any heart problem, shared Dr Puri.