Cardiovascular Disease

  • Nanette Kass Wenger


Aging of populations, common in the industrialized world, is rapidly becoming a characteristic of developing nations as well. Two thirds of the world’s 600 million people aged 60 years or older are projected to reside in developing nations by the year 2000. Not only is the elderly population increasing worldwide, but the aged population itself is becoming older as more people survive to older ages. Cardiovascular disease increases dramatically with aging and is the major cause of death and disability in elderly persons; 83% of all cardiovascular deaths in the United States occur in patients older than 65 years of age.1 Coronary heart disease is the most prevalent cardiac problem, followed by hypertensive cardiovascular disease. The problem facing all societies is how to pay for the care, rather than the cure, that is characteristic of chronic illness. Elderly patients constitute a highly heterogeneous group, with widely differing functional status, severities of illness, expectations of medical therapy, and psychosocial needs, none of which relates substantially either to each other or to chronologic age. Recent data suggest that the management and outcomes for most patients aged 65 to 75 years are comparable to that for their younger counterparts, but that cardiovascular diagnosis and therapy must be highly individualized beyond this age. The challenge is to identify the characteristics of people who remain active, alert, and energetic into old age, and to determine how lifestyle components, including nutrition, obesity, exercise, psychosocial features, work, retirement, and others, affect aging. This information can guide the preventive measures that may decrease disability in later life.


Atrial Fibrillation Acute Myocardial Infarction Aortic Stenosis Mitral Regurgitation Infective Endocarditis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nanette Kass Wenger

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