Cardiovascular Changes












Age-Related Changes

South University

Age-Related Changes

Cardiovascular Changes


As much as the 78-year-old interviewee considers him healthy, he admits that most parts of his body and their functionality has greatly changed. The first instance of change is found in the cardiovascular system. The aging slowly brings about isolated systolic hypertension where the individual has his arterial walls grow thicker and stiffer and therefore leading to decrease in compliance of the heart. In closer examination of the patient’s cardiovascular system, there could be found diminished peripheral pulses with extremities as well as strong arterial pulses (Smith & Cotter, 2008). These conclusions were made as a result of the discovery of decreased cardiac reserve, constant heart rate whether at exercise or rest, inability to exercise vigorously and for long and decreased heart rate. Other signs included fatigue and being short of breath frequently.

While comparing to a normally functioning cardiovascular system to that of the aging individual interviewed, there are numerous differenced that were observable. First, as mentioned above, the individual maintained a high heart rate whether while engaged in an exercise or not. On the other hand, under normal circumstances, the heart rate increases when an individual engages in physical activities that require of their body to consume more oxygen, which is supplied through blood (APA, n.d.). At old age, cardiac output remains low. Consequently, when the individual engages in physical exercises, he cannot last long, since he would get easily fatigued, run out of breath fast, and in case of tachycardia, experience slow recovery.

Other probable cardiac conditions that are experienced at old age include the risk of inflamed varicosities. Other risks include arrhythmias, hypotension, which is believed to be induced by posture. As a result, syncope may be caused, which also increases the risk of arrhythmias. Habits contribute a lot to a heart’s condition. Indeed, every individual desire to have a healthy heart, but few of them are keen on their habits, to ensure that whatever they eat is heart-friendly (Smith & Cotter, 2008). For instance, as the interviewee confessed it gets hard to avoid stress and depression sometimes. But, once these episodes are over, one assumes that they are fine and healthy. They forget that damage to the heart might have been caused during the stressful episode.

Other habits include failure of controlling sleep apnea, which is known to accelerate high blood pressure. But, diet is the capital of heart conditions. Eating well guarantees to any individual a healthy heart. However, many people fail to know about the various foods that are heart friends. As explained by the interviewee, he learned of various healthy foods through seminars, campaigns and other sources of education. The interviewee explains of cardiac friendly diet to be comprised of fruits and vegetables—tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, among others. Others include soluble fiber foods whose rich sources are oats, beans, berries, and more (Care & Home, n.d.). Others include sources of fatty acids—Omega 3, which are found in fishes—Salmon, Tuna, Herring, and other unprocessed foods such as Sardines, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and ground flaxseeds.

Changes in the Pulmonary System


The pulmonary system was also found to have continued encounter with changes, where the respiratory muscles were decreased in strength, reduced compliance of chest walls, which were stiff. Response to hypercapnia and hypoxia were decreased. This could also be observed through reduced exercise tolerance. What the strength of clearance of foreign matter can cough was reduced—coughing and sneezing were weaker, were not coming out in high velocity (Sharma & Goodwin, 2006). The risks of airway obstruction remained higher. These were identified through assessment of the respiratory rhythm, rate, depth, volume, and capacity while at rest and while engaged in activities. Even though the patient did not need to be nursed, he could implement some nursing techniques such as maintaining an upright posture to breathe comfortably and implement education on cough enhancement.

To know of any alterations in the respiratory system, the patient is subjected to assessment procedures, specialized for the pulmonary system. The assessment procedures entail assessing breathing behaviors as described above, and inspection of breathing organs—the thorax in general. Also, the study of the patient’s smoking history is necessary too. Also, the patient may be subjected to exercises while his breathing procedure being checked. Not only movement of air is checked, but also the presence of secretions, if any, blood gasses, and pulse oximetry. Hover, in looking at a deeper understanding of the effects of aging on lungs, the tissues themselves as well as the surrounding area affected (Lechtzin, n.d.). First, the bones and muscles of chest and spine are affected. As one grows old, bones shrink and change in shape. The changes can alter the ribcage. This minimizes the rate of contraction and expansion of the ribcage. The weakening of muscles, especially the diaphragm also leads to reduced performance in contraction and relaxation of lungs to achieve proper breathing.

The lungs tissues also change greatly. For instance, some tissues that make the airway may weaken lose the ability to keep it open. Collapsing disrupts the normal flow of air to and from the lungs. Air can get trapped inside, and fresh air fails to find its way into the lungs. This would lead to concentration of more carbon dioxide in the blood and very little and insufficient oxygen supply to the organs, leading to their underperformance. Resultantly, common lung infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis are experienced. Others include abnormal breathing pattern and running short of breath frequently, and low oxygen supply.

Since the respiratory system continues reducing its strength in functionality, intervention is required sooner or later, where the patient will need to be nursed. For instance, for his airway to remain maintained, he has to keep an upright position, a reposition, or suction (Smith & Cotter, 2008). The patient ought to be provided with extra oxygen if needed, and be hydrated always. For a patient who may be smoking, s/he can be urged to quit. Incentive spirometry can also be conducted on the patient.

The respiratory problems at old age can, however, be prevented through different means. First, the interviewee claimed to engage in physical exercises to enhance breath. It is indeed true; lung functionality is improved through physical exercises. Also making movements rather than lying down or sitting for long periods of time allows for the collection of mucus in lungs. This increases the risk of lung infection.

Changes in the Musculoskeletal System


Third, is the age-associated changes in the musculoskeletal system could be observable on the interviewee. The interviewee was not as strong as he had been during his 50s. His muscular strength and mass were declining with age. Bone capacity had also reduced. Also, ligaments were found to have decreased as well as tendon strength. The examination could show degeneration of the intervertebral disc. The articular cartilage, in comparison with that of a youth, had started eroding (Loeser, 2010). The individual’s gait had started eroding. According to health information, the persistence of this condition would lead the individual starting losing scores while graded against the Katz Index of Activities of Daily Living. This implies that he would no longer be able to do some activities on his own.

Old age is known to change bone structure, strength, and wright, and posture. Evidently, when people grow old, they not only quit engaging in heavy tasks, but also their movements slow down, and they significantly reduce muscular strength. Also, joints, especially knees and hips reduce flexibility, where they become more fixed. Also in case of accidents, the bones may break easily, due to reduced resistance in them. When joints break down, chances of inflammation, deformity, stiffness, pain, and other changes may occur (Loeser, 2010). Resultantly, common problems such as osteoporosis, fractures, and many others may occur. Although the interviewee did not give any history of bone issues as years increased, he could confess, as well as it was observable that movement was slowed down and his posture had started bending already.

To prevent these bone and muscular disorders, frequent exercises are very much important. Exercising keeps the muscles, bones, and joints engaged, which makes them have their strength, balance, and flexibility maintained. Bones stay strong with a lot of exercises. Also, the bones retain strength (Smith & Cotter, 2008). However, some exercises may cause strain and worsen the condition of the bones. Thus, before engaging in a given exercise, especially when trying new ones, an aging individual is highly recommended to seed advice from a professional healthcare provider, for them to affirm that the exercise is not harmful in any way. Last but not the least; a balanced diet is very much important. About balanced diet, the individual should take foods with plenty of calcium to strengthen the bones. For women, not only calcium but also Vitamin D is required of them as they age (Chart et al., 2014). According to clinical information, women and men of 70 years and above should consume 1, 200 mg of calcium daily, and be supplied with 800 units of vitamin D, on a daily basis too.


Fluids: Patient does not drink that much of water. Nearly, 3 glasses a day with his medication.

Aeration: Patient feels lonely and depressed sometimes.

Nutrition: Patient with a good knowledge of appropriate diet.

Communication: Patient is able to participate in a normal conversation and give logically


Activity: Patient refers that he goes for a walk almost every day for near 20 minutes.

Pain: He refers to his pain as “normal for the age”

Elimination: Patient is continent of bowel and incontinent of urine (at times due to his meds).

Socialization: Patient has some friends that he talks to them over the phone once a week and his

family would visit him whenever they have free time.


Assessment of Home Safety

According to my assessment, patient is still able to live at home safely under supervision of his family. Patient is knowledgeable and capable of taking his medications. No health environment related issues found, although patient will benefit from Meals on Wheels or a Cantina arrangement.

Katz index of independence in activities of daily living (ADL)


The individual put under review using this tool was a retired clinical officer, aged 78. When the interviewee was put under test against the Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living, he scored all 6/6 points. The tool was checking if the individual could be able to bath all parts of his body without necessarily requiring assistance. Or, in case of assistance was needed, he would require it for only a part of the body. The next issue was dressing—he could get clothes by himself and put them all without needing assistance. He could comfortably take himself to the toilet and do all associated activities without requiring any assistance. About transferring, the individual could move from one place to another without needing assistance, not even by use of a walking stick. He could fully and accurately control defecation and urination, which earned him a mark on continence. Last but not the least; concerning feeding, he could comfortably get food from plate to mouth without requiring any help. Moreover, he could take part in preparing the food (Wallace & Shelkey, 2007).

Patient Questionnaire


Name: ________________________________ Age: ______78 Years__________

Brief Introduction (Background information):

The interviewee is a male of the age mentioned above, retired professional who used to work as a clinical officer. He has worked in public organizations for about thirty years, and lately, before retiring has been working in a private hospital, while he dropped the job willingly at the age of 62. His services were still great and highly valued, but he considered himself old to still be working.

1. Philosophy of living a long life

According to the interviewee, whose religion is Christianity, he believes that 70 years is the right period that one should live. That is a long enough life. He says that it is a biblical philosophy. Less than 70 is a short-lived and more than that is an extended life.

2. Thoughts about when a person is considered “too old.”

Concerning the above philosophy, too old is when a person is above 70. Also, when the body gets depleted of energy and an individual stay weak.

3. Opinion on the status and treatment of older adults

Older adults should be treated with extensive care just like children. This is because their bodies grow weaker with time rather than stronger.

4. Beliefs about health and illness

Good health depends on what people eat. Sometimes illness comes as punishment for one’s evil deeds. However, diet, exercises, and habits also contribute a lot to an individual’s health as well as the probability of falling ill.

5. Health promotion activities he or she participates in

The interviewee takes walks and participates in golf playing as physical exercises. He also ensures proper diet and regular eating and having sufficient sleep.

6. Something special that helped the person live so long

The interviewee believed that the habit of staying happy, without stress, conducting physical exercises regularly, and eating healthy foods as well as holding onto his beliefs, were the main aspects that have enabled him to live that long.

7. Lifespan of other family members

As the interviewee puts it, fellow, family members have lived valid lengths of life, where few of them reach old age—above 70 years. But, the interviewee’s grandmother lived for more than a hundred and ten years.

8. Special dietary traditions in patient’s culture attributed to aiding long life

About the patient’s traditions and culture eating processed foods are against their cultural practices. Natural vegetables, cereals, and animal products such as milk are best for human consumption as far as their traditions are concerned. Also, processed fluids are not recommendable, and instead, plenty of fruits are to be consumed.

9. Any remedies/medications that have been handed down to family/group. If yes, describe.

The interviewee’s family at some point believes in herbal remedies to cure common ailments such as cold, flu, fever, headache and others. For instance, a Sodom apple root could be chewed to cure stomach upset.

10. Patient’s description of current and past health status

The patient’s health status continues becoming poor as his body’s immune system weakens. This is signified by his aspect of catching minor illnesses frequently.

11. The values that guided life so far

According to the interviewee, doing no harm and living up to one’s expectations is what can be termed as good long life. He also believes in doing unto others what he would love others do to him.

Additional Questions

1. How long does the patient think he may live? Why?

The interviewee thinks that he may live for more than ten other years. The main reason for this is because he is confident that his body still has much strength and abilities, and he continues exercising, he is always careful about diet, and he still holds on his beliefs.

2. What are some of the things that the patient should stop or start doing?

As far as the interviewee is concerned, no behavioral habit in him is inappropriate, or that he desires to stop or change.

3. Is old age enjoyable? Describe.

Everybody wishes to live a long life; it shows that one is indeed blessed. Also, nothing gives an old person greater joy than seeing their grandchildren grown to adults. At old age, being around loved ones is the best thing.


The interviewee, aged 78 finds is very much appropriate to grow old. Lifestyle is a very great determinant of how long one may live. The lifestyle is dictated by diet, habits, religious as well as personal beliefs, stress management, and physical exercises. Older people should be treated with greater care than the young ones. Being too old is not only determined by age, but also by the state of the body. How good or bad old age is depending on the individual. Some find a lot of fun as they are around their loved ones, while others live solitary lives.


Miller, C. (2015). Nursing for wellness in older adults 7th ed. Retrieved from:

APA. (n.d.). Older Adults’ Health and Age-Related Changes. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from

Care, I. H., & Home, T. Heart-Healthy Foods?.

Chart, M. M., Give, W. T., & Risk, F. (2014). Aging changes in the bones-muscles-joints.

Lechtzin, N. (n.d.). Effects of Aging on the Respiratory System – Lung and Airway Disorders. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from

Loeser, R. F. (2010). Age-related changes in the musculoskeletal system and the development of osteoarthritis. Clinics in geriatric medicine26(3), 371-386.

Sharma, G., & Goodwin, J. (2006). Effect of aging on respiratory system physiology and immunology. Clinical interventions in aging1(3), 253.

Smith, C. M., & Cotter, V. T. (2008). Nursing standard of practice protocol: age-related changes in health. Hartford İnstitute For Geriatric Nursing, New York.

Villa-Forte, A. (n.d.). Effects of Aging on the Musculoskeletal System – Bone, Joint, and Muscle Disorders. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from,-joint,-and-muscle-disorders/biology-of-the-musculoskeletal-system/effects-of-aging-on-the-musculoskeletal-system

Wallace, M., & Shelkey, M. (2007). Katz index of independence in activities of daily living (ADL). Urol Nurs27(1), 93-94.

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