What makes the heart grow old? Can aging of the heart be slowed down and how to rejuvenate it? Here's what the experts advise:
“We, alas, cannot influence the most powerful factors of aging of the heart - age, gender and heredity, explains Dr. Oksana Rotar - head of the Russian Research Laboratory of Epidemiology of Non-Infectious Diseases. - It is obvious that with each subsequent year the heart also "grows years".
A man's heart ages on average 2 years faster than a woman's. The prognosis is also worsened by burdened heredity. If any of the relatives (brother, sister, parents, grandparents) had cardiovascular accidents before the age of 65, a person is in the risk group. But the other factors influencing the condition and "age" of the heart, we can control."
See which factors age the human heart by how many years:
1. Overweight. If the body mass index (the ratio between height and weight) is 25-30 points, it ages the heart by 1 year. If over 30 - with 2 years.
2. Smoking. If you smoked 1 pack of cigarettes a day for 10 years, your heart aged 1 year earlier. If you have been a smoker for more than 10 years and smoke more than 1 pack, your heart has aged by a whole 2 years compared to your actual age.
3. Chronic diseases. If you suffer from chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, your heart is 1 or 2 years ahead of its age, depending on the duration and stage of the disease. If your blood pressure is above 120 upper limit, your heart ages faster by 1 year; if the level of sugar in the blood is higher than 5.4 m/mol per l - with 1 year; if the cholesterol level is higher than 4.9 mmol/l - with 1 year; burdensome heredity - the heart is 1 year older than its real age.
Even to a person without any medical knowledge, it is obvious that excess weight, chronic diseases, smoking, high blood sugar and cholesterol levels are harmful to the heart.
However, there are other reasons and habits that destroy the heart muscle. Although some of them seem useful at first glance. Remember them
1. Passion for active sports. More and more are supporters of a he althy lifestyle among modern young people. Some of them regularly run marathons (a 42 km run), swim and participate in other strength competitions. But those active athletes should keep in mind that too much physical activity destroys the heart just as quickly as smoking.
"During training, toxins accumulate in the body, which are gradually expelled from the body," explains Russian professor Roza Tsalagova.
If training is carried out one after another, toxins accumulate, poison the body, cause exhaustion, which leads to serious damage, includingh. and in the cardiovascular system (heart attacks and strokes are not rare). Therefore, for example, the training of athletes is determined individually, in view of their genetic passport. The advice to ordinary people who train and do sports intensively is to also consider their level of fitness and he alth.
2. The rejection of meat. For a long time it was believed that red meat increases the risk of oncological and cardiovascular diseases, so people who care about their he alth often exclude it from their menu. However, a study by Oxford scientists shows that people who eat meat do not suffer from ischemic heart disease more often than those who do not eat meat. And it is even more surprising that heart attacks are much less common among meat eaters than among vegetarians. And on top of that, it turns out that completely giving up meat increases the risk of stroke.
“Partly this can be explained by the lack of nutrients (vitamins, essential amino acids and trace elements), which are present in meat in the required amount and in an easily digestible form and are practically not contained in vegetable products - believes Professor Simon Matseplishvili. Naturally, meat will not protect a person from heart attack and stroke, but it can be accepted as a means of preventing cardiovascular accidents.
3. Night shift work. The cycle of cardiovascular contractions has two features - it increases during the day and subsides at night when a person goes to sleep. This gives the heart a chance to recover. Human nature is designed to be active during the day and rest at night. Seven hours of sleep a night is the minimum necessary for the normal functioning of the heart. In addition, it is important not only to fall asleep, but also to go to bed at the same time. If a person works shifts, but their schedule allows them to sleep at night, they can avoid the harmful consequences. But if he regularly works the night shift, he will not be able to avoid serious heart problems.
4. The so-called working blood pressure. To this day, in medical circles, there is also the opinion that normal is that blood pressure at which a person feels comfortable, even if it is outside the normal parameters. That is why it is called "working blood pressure", i.e. conditionally acceptable and not requiring treatment. Increased blood pressure, however, wears out the heart muscle even if it rises periodically, episodically.
“There is no such thing as "working" blood pressure, nor "senile" blood pressure. Such concepts do not exist. Blood pressure is normal (120/80) or it is not, that's it - says Prof. Matseplishvili. - People over 40 should measure their blood pressure every day, even if they feel normal.
Do not rely on or be guided by such symptoms as: pain or heaviness in the back of the head; "rush of blood" or "internal heat". Just measure your blood every day. Hypertension is often asymptomatic, so it is dangerous to take as the main criterion the fact that you feel well".
5. Unruly behavior in youth. Optimal he alth indicators that persist into adulthood are a necessary condition for preserving the youth of the heart."Another non-obvious factor that seriously affects the function of the heart is the duration of influence of harmful factors on the body - explains Prof. Svetlana Villevalde. - We must adhere to a he althy lifestyle throughout our lives, starting from a young age. Unbridled youth will inevitably affect cardiovascular diseases in adulthood and old age, even if you start taking care of your he alth in time".
6. Environmental stress. It is no coincidence that rich people around the world seek to live either in peaceful green areas or outside the city. Stress is not only psychological, but also environmental. The heart ages from the noise, from the bright night light, from the content of harmful substances in the air. British scientists compared the he alth status of those who go to work in the morning, passing through the city center, with those who reach their workplace through the park.
Research has shown that even such seemingly small things cause damage to the heart muscle. In those who are forced to cross the city center, the elasticity of their blood vessels is much lower, compared to those who choose to go to work through the park.