Understanding Risk Factors Linked to Older Adult Heart Health

February 20, 2020

An older adult patient under the care of a young female doctorBy NCECE Staff

February is filled with heart-themed decorations for Valentine’s Day, but also provides the annual opportunity to focus on raising awareness around the prevalence and risk factors for heart disease through American Heart Month and the Go Red for Women movement on National Wear Red Day. 

According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Though, education about risk factors, prevention through diet and lifestyle changes, and signs and symptoms has improved the chances of survival of those living with heart disease.  

“We’ve made enormous progress combatting heart disease over the past 50 years,” said Anthony Rosenzweig, MD, Chief of Cardiology and Co-Director of the Corrigan-Minehan Heart Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

“But there are several reasons why heart disease remains the number one cause of death in many countries, and one of them is the growing older adult population, as aging is closely linked with most forms of this disease,” he said. “The good news is that there’s a lot you can do to prevent the most common forms of heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) has pointed out that seven relatively simple interventions can have a dramatic impact in reducing your risk.”

A graphic depicting seven icons corresponding to seven lifestyle habits to improve heart healthThe “Life’s Simple 7” that people can improve through lifestyle changes include:

1. Manage Blood Pressure

2. Control Cholesterol

3. Reducing Blood Sugar

4. Get Active

5. Eat Better

6. Lose Weight

7. Stop Smoking

More information about each of the “Life’s Simple 7” risk factors, including free infographics and articles, can be found on the AHA website at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/my-life-check--lifes-simple-7.

Additional heart disease facts and resources for clinicians are available on the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm.