A HEALTHY HEART – PART 2

It is too late! Ah nothing is too late, till the tired heart shall cease to palpate.
Cato learned Greek at eighty, Sophocles wrote his grand Oedipus and Simondes bore off the prize of verse
from his compeers when each had numbered more than four score year years.
Chaucer at Woodstock with the nightingales, at sixty wrote the Canterbury Tales.
Goethe at Weimar toiling to the last, completed Faust when eighty years were past.
These are indeed exceptions but they show how far the gulf stream of youth may flow into the Arctic regions of our lives,
for age is opportunity no less than youth itself, though in another dress, and as the evening twilight
fades away the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.

Longfellow – Morituri Salutamus 1.238.

HEART CARE OF THE ELDERLY.

Rapid scientific developments in medical science, especially over the last fifty years have to a large extent contributed to improving the quality of life and lengthening the lifespan.  This has resulted in more people reaching old age and suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.  Intervention procedures like balloon angioplasty, laser, stents,coils and pacemakers have given heart patients a new lease of life and enhanced their quality of life.  The wonders of heart, lung, kidney liver and other organ transplants have enabled many people to live productive lives for a longer time than was ever thought possible in the past.

Age has more to do with our attitudes  and thoughts than biological aging.  As G Edward put it. “It is not by the grey of the hair that one knows the age of the heart”.  The setting sun of retirement brings with it several psychological, personal and heart related problems. Most countries of the world are being governed by a head of state beyond 60 years of age.  Depending upon the average life expectancy, the retirement age is variable between 55 years and 75 years in various countries, it is also job related, being the lowest in the military service and highest in the judiciary.

The fact of an individual reaching the age of retirement is obviously due to reasonably good health.  Having survived beyond the fifth or sixth decade of life, the diseases that one is likely to encounter are those of the cardiovascular system and cancer.  Heart diseases and strokes are the most common killers as well as responsible for disability in the aged.

“We are as old as our arteries” is an old saying.  Heart attacks and brain attack (strokes) being responsible for maximum deaths and disability in the elderly, the modern version of the above quotation could perhaps be rephrased to read “We are as old as our coronary and cerebral arteries.”

The grey zone of 60-65 yeas may be considered the zone of post-retirement beyond which people are placed in the category of senior citizens.

Environmental factors such as sudden changes in temperatures, extreme cold or heat have a strong deleterious effect on the cardiovascular function in the elderly senior citizens have to be protected against such exposures in order to prevent frequent occurrence of aggravation of angina, heart attack, rapid and at times irregular beating of the heart and congestive heart failure.

Disease, disability, or death of a spouse or a close friend often result in serious disturbances and imbalance in the physiological behaviour of the elderly and this, in turn, aggravates or initiates serious cardiac malfunction.  Death within a few months of the demise of the spouse is not uncommon among senior citizens.