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Changes to Your Heart With Age

  • Aging can cause changes in the heart and blood vessels. For example, as you get older, your heart can’t beat as fast during physical activity stress as when you were younger. However, the number of heart beats per minute (heart rate) at rest does not change as you age.
  • Many of the problems older people have with their heart and blood vessels are really caused by disease, not by aging. The good news is there are things you can do to delay, lower, or possibly avoid or reverse your risk.
    • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular moderate physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight. 
    • Check your blood pressure. Exercise and reducing salt in your diet can help, but often medication is needed to manage high blood pressure and the related problems.
    • Eat a healthy diet. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and lean sources of protein, such as fish. Limit foods high in saturated fat and sodium.
    • Don’t smoke. Smoking contributes to the hardening of your arteries and increases your blood pressure and heart rate.
    • Manage stress. Stress can take a toll on your heart. Take steps to reduce stress – or learn to deal with stress in healthy ways.