Heart disease is an umbrella term that refers to numerous medical conditions affecting the heart and its ability to function properly, such as coronary artery disease, heart rhythm disorders, and heart valve problems. These conditions can range from mild to severe and can significantly impact a person’s overall health. Although heart disease can affect individuals of all ages, it becomes more prevalent and concerning as we get older. As we age, our bodies undergo a series of changes. Some of these changes are natural responses to the wear and tear of time, while others are influenced by lifestyle choices.
For example, according to MedlinePlus, the arteries that supply blood to the heart lose their flexibility, which can increase the risk of fatty deposits building up and narrowing the arteries. This can lead to heart disease and make it difficult for the heart to function properly. The heart’s muscular walls may also become less elastic and thicker, making it harder for the heart to pump blood effectively.
High blood pressure is another common issue as we age, and it can strain the heart (via the Cleveland Clinic). Changes in our cholesterol levels are also common with age, which can further contribute to heart disease (per the National Institute on Aging). Unhealthy lifestyle choices like a poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking can significantly impact heart health over time as well (via the CDC).