ANCHOR LEAD: CHANGES IN AN AGING HEART MAY PREDICT HEART FAILURE, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Heart failure is the number one expenditure in the Medicare budget, costing the nation millions of dollars each year. The condition is common as people age, but until now, no one has understood the mechanism. A Johns Hopkins study has shed new light on the process. Joao Lima, senior author and cardiologist, explains.
LIMA: Americans of different ethnicities, Latin Americans, African Americans, Caucasians, and Chinese Americans, were included in this followup. Across all ethnic groups, our heart becomes smaller as we age. Some of our heart cells die, and are replaced with scar tissue, but at a finer level than when one has a heart attack. :23
While the heart becomes smaller the individual cells get bigger and must work harder. Lima says the process can be slowed down considerably by controlling high blood pressure and diabetes. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.