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Heart Health Tips as You Age

April 21, 2023
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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and the risk increases as we age. The good news is that about 80 percent of heart disease and stroke are preventable! Knowing the key factors that increase your risk for heart disease can help you take steps to reduce your risk and keep your heart healthy.

Risk factors for heart disease

Below are some factors that increase your chances of heart disease and stroke. Some of these risk factors can be managed with help from your doctor. These include:

Other risk factors for heart disease include:

How you can improve your heart health


The first step is to do anything you can to get moving. Taking a short walk or setting aside time to stand or move throughout the day are great places to start. These small steps can make a big difference in your heart health.

The goal of exercise is to improve circulation and reduce body fat. Aerobic exercise improves circulation, so you should aim to do moderate activity for 30 minutes, most days of the week. This can be a brisk walk, swimming, or riding a stationary bike.

Strength training helps reduce body fat, increase muscle, and help manage your cholesterol. Try to do this at least twice a week with free weights or exercise bands. Combining these two types of exercise is a great way to combat heart disease.

For some exercise ideas for all ages and abilities, click here.

Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine. 

Eating for a healthy heart

Food is essential. It gives us the energy  our bodies need to function. The foods you choose can make a big difference in your health. When it comes to nutrition, the following general rules will help lower your risk for heart disease.

Some comfort foods and favorite meals – the kind that may have been in your family for generations – may not always be the healthiest choices. But eating more mindfully doesn’t mean skipping them altogether. Instead, focus on making small substitutions where possible. Click here for some easy ideas for healthy swaps from the American Heart Association.

Knowledge is power. Knowing the basics of nutrition can help you make better food choices. You can learn more about the building blocks of nutrition in our healthy eating guide.

Know the signs of a heart attack

It’s so important to recognize the signs of a heart attack. The sooner you get help, the better the chances of survival. The typical symptoms include:

While chest pain is the most well-known sign of a heart attack, symptoms can be very different for women. Women might have:

Because women can have different symptoms than men, it can sometimes be harder to diagnose a heart attack. Women should speak up if something doesn’t feel right. If there are any signs that you may be having call 9-1-1 for help immediately. It’s better to have a false alarm than a life-threatening event.

Living with heart disease

Heart disease is serious, but you can take steps to reduce your risk. The key is to get screened regularly for blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass index (BMI). Working proactively with your healthcare provider to monitor your numbers, they can help you manage your heart disease. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about anything you’re experiencing.

For more tips on preventing or managing heart disease, check out:

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