Aging can cause changes in the heart and blood vessels. For example, as a person ages, the heart may not beat as fast during physical activity or during times of stress as it did when it was younger. However, the number of beats per minute (heart rate) at rest does not change significantly with normal aging.
Changes that occur with age can increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease. One of the main causes of heart disease is the accumulation of fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries over many years. The good news is that there are things a person can do to delay, decrease, or possibly avoid or reverse risk.
The most common change in aging is an increase in the stiffness of the major arteries, called arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis causes high blood pressure or hypertension, which becomes more common as people age.
In the case of our lungs, they work tirelessly in the half-life of a human being. Throughout our lives, our lungs breathe between 20 and 40 million times and an air flow of between 7000 and 10,000 liters per day circulates through them.
Scientists have discovered that each of these regions contains unique types of stem cells and progenitor cells. In a normal lung, progenitor cells are present and abundant in every region. These cells divide in order to replace old or damaged cells and thus keep the lung healthy. The progenitor cells are: the basal cells of the trachea, the secretory cells of the bronchiole, and the type 2 alveolar cells. It is believed that only the division of these cells is sufficient to maintain the structure of the lung during adult life and help in repair and regeneration throughout life. With age, the dysfunction of these cells can contribute to the development of lung diseases linked to the respiratory system.