Posted: February 1, 2024

Keep Aging Hearts Healthy

Learning about the health of your heart is important, especially if there is family history of cardiovascular disease or risk of a diagnosis. The well-being of your heart involves understanding risk factors, making healthy heart choices, and taking steps to reduce the chances of getting heart disease. Cardiovascular disease can limit activity in one's daily living or cause a disability, which affects the quality of life one may have. Recognizing the symptoms of cardiovascular diseases helps with seeking treatment.


Symptoms to Look For

Here are some warning signs for a heart attack, stroke, and cardiac arrest symptoms.1


Heart Attack Symptoms

  • Chest Discomfort
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Cold Sweat
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness


Stroke Symptoms

Spot a stroke by knowing the acronym F.A.S.T

  • Face Drooping
  • Arm Weakness
  • Speech Difficulty
  • Time to Call 911


Cardiac Arrest Symptoms

  • Sudden Loss of Responsiveness or Collapse
  • No Normal Breathing
  • No Response
  • No Pulse


Learn more about heart attack, stroke, and cardiac arrest symptoms on the American Heart Association website.


Aging and the Heart

As a person ages, so does the heart organ system. When the heart ages, the performance of the heart can become irregular. The heart rhythm can go faster or slower due to changes in the blood vessels, blood pressure, stiffness of the arteries, and the growth of fat deposits around the heart.2 Developing these conditions occurs over time and can increase the likelihood of a heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest, or the development of heart disease. Routine visits to the doctor or cardiologist for examinations are encouraged for older adults, which helps with prevention or early detection of heart disease. Some lifestyle choices may also affect your cardiovascular system and overall body. 


Healthy Heart Actions

Here are some ways to help prevent heart disease and keep a healthy heart: 2

  • Be physically active or try to exercise for at least 2.5 hours each week.
  • Follow a heart healthy diet. This includes foods that are low in saturated fats, added sugars, and salt.
  • If you smoke, try to quit.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Keep diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol under control.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Manage stress.


Visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to learn more about making heart-healthy lifestyle changes.


New Treatment Drugs 

With the advances in technology and medicine, there has been great progress in interventions and treatments to slow the acceleration of heart disease, in addition to ongoing research to learn more about the aging process of the heart. This research includes lifestyle factors, cellular and molecular changes to the cardiovascular system, and the development of drugs for treatment.2 For example, researchers have investigated advancements in pharmaceuticals, such as a new clinical drug that suppresses key protein needed for development of hypertension.4 Ongoing studies have produced discoveries that have deepened the understanding of various populations' causes of cardiovascular disease and influenced the development of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.3


Learn more about the latest coronary heart disease research by the National Institute of Health.