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How To Protect Your Heart As You Age

Medically reviewed by Lauren Labrador, MD, FPCP, DPCC · Cardiology


Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Sep 01, 2022

How To Protect Your Heart As You Age

No matter what your age is, NOW is the best time to take care of your heart health. And even if you feel like you’ve neglected your heart in the past years, know that you can start taking care of it today. In this article, we’ll cover the ways on how to improve heart health as you age. 

How The Heart Changes As You Age

Just like the rest of the body, the heart changes, too as you age. 

As you advance in years, your heart might not be able to pump blood as fast when you’re stressed or doing any physical activity as when you were in your teens, 20s, or 30s. 

Sometimes, heart chambers may grow bigger, but weaker in the sense that they can no longer pump blood effectively. Note, however, that a big heart doesn’t automatically mean it is weaker. After all, a big heart is usually seen in an athlete.

Aging may likewise mean that the arteries have accumulated plaque or fatty buildup. On top of that, arteries grow stiff as you age due to the loss of elasticity and other factors (cellular mechanism, etc). These make it more difficult for the blood to flow, increasing the risk for other heart disease. 

Considering these changes, it’s crucial to learn the ways on how to improve heart health as you age. 

How To Protect Your Heart As You Age

When it comes to protecting your heart, there are some things you can do regardless of your age and some things you must focus on at a certain period. 

At All Age Groups

No matter what your age is, here are some ways on how to improve your heart health.

  • Have a healthy diet filled with whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and dairy. Avoid salty and fatty foods, and refrain from consuming processed foods. Of course, don’t forget to prioritize portion control as well. 
  • You might want to look into the DASH and Mediterranean Diet and discuss them with your doctor. Many studies indicate that they are excellent for the heart.
  • Be physically active (just make sure your exercise is appropriate for your health condition). Doctors generally recommend about 30 to 45 minutes of mild to moderate physical activity 3 to 5 times a week.
  • Don’t smoke or quit smoking. Cigarettes pose dangerous health hazards.  Also, remember that vaping and e-cigarettes are equally dangerous. If you’re not smoking, keep in mind that secondhand smoke is just as harmful, so it’s best to stay away from cigarette smoke.
  • Get adequate, quality sleep. Reports say an adult needs 7 or more hours of sleep a night. Long-term sleep deprivation is also associated with heart disease. 
  • Of course, other factors also come into play when it comes to your heart health. For instance, adequate hydration, being able to manage your stress levels, and having a good social support system can also help keep your heart healthy.
  • Learn about the warning signs of stroke and heart attack

In Your 20s

Are you in your 20s? Continue or adapt to a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, find a doctor who you can go to for wellness checks. The doctor will discuss with you any risk factors you may have and you can work together to eliminate or reduce the risk factors. 

From here on out, show up to your annual or scheduled check-ups. This might not be a problem for people who are employed as they have their yearly physical exam. But if you work independently, find a doctor you can trust. 

In Your 30s

In your 30s, it’s a good idea to know more about your family history. Does anyone in the family have a heart condition? Know that having a family history of cardiovascular disease puts you at risk, too. That’s why you need to focus on reducing your modifiable risk factors. 

Also, be sure to manage your stress levels. Chronic stress is associated with a faster heart rate and higher blood pressure, which aren’t good for the heart. 

In Your 40s

How to improve your heart health in your 40s? It’s important to be mindful of your weight. You see, people in this range may have diminished metabolism and a lower drive to stay as active as before. 

In your 40s, it’s also a good idea to have your blood pressure and blood sugar checked regularly. Also, take note of sleep apnea as in the long run, it can contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease. 

In Your 50s and 60s

When you’re in your 50s and 60s, you may need to change the way you exercise depending on any medical condition you might have. For instance, having bone problems may limit the type of physical activity you can perform. Likewise, you may need to change some of your eating habits. 

Also, it’s essential to follow the treatment plan for your health conditions. Unmanaged, many diseases can negatively affect the heart. 

Key Takeaways

How to improve your heart health as you age? Prioritize having a healthy diet, exercising regularly, achieving and maintaining healthy weight, getting adequate sleep, and quitting unhealthy habits, such as cigarette smoking. 

Learn more about Heart Health here

Disclaimer

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Lauren Labrador, MD, FPCP, DPCC

Cardiology


Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Sep 01, 2022

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