November 04, 2007
Hearts Eject Less As We Get Older

Your heart squeezes and relaxes more slowly every year as you get older.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have evidence to explain why the supposedly natural act of aging is by itself a very potent risk factor for life-threatening heart failure.

In a study to be presented Nov. 4 at the American Heart Associationís (AHA) annual Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Fla., the Hopkins team analyzed more than a half-dozen measurements of heart structure and pumping function to assess minute changes in the hearts of 5,004 men and women, age 45 to 84, of different ethnic backgrounds and with no existing symptoms of heart disease.

Researchers found that each year as people age, the time it takes for their heart muscles to squeeze and relax grows longer, by 2 percent to 5 percent.

Test results were obtained from study participants who had undergone high-tech magnetic resonance imaging of the heart - tagged MRI - which measures individual muscle segment changes with each heartbeat.

We need stem cell therapies and other therapies that can reverse the changes that happen as our hearts age.

Our hearts eject less blood on every beat each year we get older.

The current gold standard, he says, is the heartís ejection fraction, a ratio of the amount of blood pumped out with each heartbeat to the total volume of blood available for pumping. An ejection fraction of 50 percent to 65 percent is considered normal.

Study results showed that ejection fraction actually rose by 0.01 percent with every year. But Lima calls this figure misleading because the total amount of blood available for pumping, the bottom number in the ratio, decreases as the size of the heart cavity shrinks and heart walls thicken, falsely boosting test results when heart function is actually failing.

When researchers separated the numbers, the actual amount of blood pumped out by the heart fell by 8 milliliters per year, says Lima, an associate professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute.

All of these changes will become reversible. The aging process is not set in stone. The changes that come with aging will some day be reversed with gene therapies, cell therapies, and other treatments.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 November 04 09:40 PM  Aging Mechanisms


Comments
cathy said at November 5, 2007 8:48 AM:

Is there any data on the effects of diet and excercise on the deterioration of the heart? It seems like aerobics, omega-3's etc. should help, but is there any evidence that they do?

reanimator said at November 6, 2007 6:10 PM:

Yes they absolutely do. Search pubmed there are numerous articles.

There are other aspects that will complicate heart aging: [bad] genetics, weight, stress, sugar and salt metabolism.

There's more you can take for your heart than just O3's. And then not all O3's are the same, more EPA than DHA for sure. 3:1 ration of Omega 3 to Omega 6 generally. CoQ10 is a good option, ESPECIALLY if you are on statins. Vitamin D, 5k ui per day. magnesium and vit. K and A to balance vit D. Some vitamin C for sure. A decent, low mineral/metal, multi is also good option. Heavy use of Omega 9's (olive oil, avocado, grape seed). Cutting all saturated fats and transfats. Lowering the GI of carbs across the board (you can do lot simply with cinnamon and apple cider vinegar believe it or not); taking in less wheat, or no wheat, which can degrade lipid quality. Switch to Oats or Quinoa with added fiber. I also take Beta Glucan (oat variety), the Japanese doctors swear by it. Baby Aspirin if your over 45, over 35 if family history has heart condition/strokes. I'd also take Resverator, it's the new super supplement good for everything, with extremely low toxicity. Do a blood test every year for lipid profile, and donate blood every year if you are post menopausal (iron built up). In terms of exercise, plain speed walking for 1 hour a day is just perfect. Weight lifting is better for bone density etc... not so much your heart muscle. p.s., dont be taken in by the low fat diets, be smart about the fats and you can and should eat a lot more of them than protein and especially more than simple carbs.

cathy said at November 9, 2007 5:27 AM:

Thanks for the tips, reanimator. I'm doing some of this stuff (everyone who reads this blog must take extra vit D!) but I'll look into the others.

Cathy

huh said at November 9, 2007 11:52 AM:

The answer to this and many other problems is to cure aging itself. No small feat, but in the end less costly than treating billions of graying humans with a multitude of phantom ailments over the next hundred years.

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