I'm in my 40s, and have noticed that whenever I get a small cut or spot, they take a lot longer to heal and go away than they did 10 years ago. Why is this, and will it get worse as I get older?
Are you absolutely sure that you are slower to heal than you were before, or could it be that you only think you are? Our healing processes don't really change much until we are in later old age, when our blood vessels are becoming more fragile and our abilities to mobilise our white cells and our immune proteins (the essentials for healing) reduce. In your 40s, however, there is little difference in these processes than from your 30s. So you should be in good form for a decade or so yet. That said, if you are worried about it, talk things through with your doctor. I'd bet, however, that you are healthy, and that you are worrying unnecessarily.
The booklet Angina And Heart Attacks from the BMA tells me that the underlying cause of angina (from which I now seem to suffer) is atheroma or atherosclerosis. Is this the "hardening of the arteries" we hear so much about these days, and is it the same as "fatty deposits"? Most importantly, is it reversible?
I was taught that the term atheroma comes from the ancient Greek word atheros, which loosely means porridge. And yes, it is the medical term for fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries. So it is really the softening, rather than the hardening, of the arteries. This is caused by calcium deposits in, and thickening of, their walls with age and rising blood pressure. Areas of atheroma in coronary arteries are the source of blood clots on their inner surfaces or microscopic bleeds into their walls. Both can cause heart attacks by blocking the blood flow to the heart muscle beyond them. And, yes, it is reversible – as has been proven in many trials of statin drugs, by taking the correct exercise (take your doctor's advice on what is right for you), by eating suitable food and by losing excess weight (you can lose fat from your arteries just as you can from fatty tissue elsewhere). So take heart, and be positive about your future.
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