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Cardiovascular Disease And Aging Essay

655 words - 3 pages

The function of the heart is to pump blood, rich in oxygen, throughout the entire body. Deoxygenated blood enters the right atrium through two veins called the superior and inferior vena cava. As the right atrium contracts, blood is pumped through the tricuspid valve to the right ventricle. When the right ventricle becomes full the tricuspid valve will close and deoxygenated blood will be pumped from the right ventricle through the pulmonary valve to the pulmonary artery, then to the lungs to become oxygenated. Once the blood is pumped through the lungs, it enters back into the heart through the pulmonary vein and into the left atrium. The blood is now oxygenated. The left atrium pumps blood through the mitral valve into the left ventricle. The left ventricle is the strongest and most important chamber of the heart. Like the tricuspid valve, the mitral valve will close when the left ventricle becomes full. From here the blood is pumped through the aortic valve and out the aorta to the rest of the body.
As the body ages, functions are at risk of becoming impaired and structures begin to change. Some structural changes that occur with the heart due to aging are diastolic changes, systolic changes, blood vessels becoming thick, stiff, and less flexible, heart weight increases, ascending aorta tends to shift to the right, left ventricular and atrial hypertrophy, cardiomegaly, and more.
Systolic refers to a stage when the ventricles of the heart contract and pump blood throughout the body. There are usually no major alterations that occur with the systolic function of the heart. Diastolic refers to the relaxation period of the ventricles of the heart. When diastolic function becomes impaired and diastolic heart failure sets in there is an increase in resistance to the filling of one or both ventricles causing an upward shift in diastolic pressure. This change in function can cause the...

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