Caring for an Aging Heart

By: Greg Thomas, M.D., MPH, medical director, MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, Long Beach Memorial

As we age, our bodies age along with us, including our hearts. The heart is a muscle that produces, on average, 115,000 heart beats a day. Over time, the heart and blood vessels begin to change.

Many of these changes are due to atherosclerosis – the buildup of plaque along the walls of the artery. Atherosclerosis can lead heart attack, stroke and other serious vascular problems.

In the early stages of heart disease, symptoms are not always noticeable, especially in older adults. Common signs of heart disease include:

  • Shoulder, arm, neck, jaw or back pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain during activity or at rest
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Cold sweats
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Easy onset fatigue

It is important to take care your heart, no matter your age. You can take care of your heart by:

  • Not smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercising
  • Managing your stress
  • Controlling your diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol

Regular checkups with your physician are an important way to keep track of your heart. If necessary, the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial is available to help your aging heart. The care team specializes in the treatment and rehabilitation of heart diseases. With programs like the Heart Failure Clinic, smoking cessation classes and a specialty screening center, Long Beach Memorial can help you at any stage of heart disease. For only $55 you can get a comprehensive heart screening. Call (562) 933-2460 to schedule your appointment.



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