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HEART HEALTH AT ANY AGE ALL AGES KEEP UP ON ANNUAL EXAMS EXERCISE REGULARLY EAT A HEARTHEALTHY DIET AVOID SMOKING LIMIT STRESS 20s 30s 40s & 50s 60s+ Establish healthy habits. Learn what you can do to prevent heart disease and vascular disease. Know your heart healthy numbers — blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index. Be aware of your family history. Understand how your family history affects your heart health. Know the warning signs of heart attack and stroke. Be aware of your heart health risks after menopause. Get vascular screenings. Take all medications as prescribed. Know your heart health risks after menopause. your ur Keeping heart healthy as you ou age Diane Kraft, MD, cardiologist at Sanford Health How does aging affect heart healtth? As people age, their hearts and blood vessels chan nge. For example, plaque and fatty deposits build up use over time in the heart and arteries, which can caus serious cardiovascular disease. The heart also tends to slightly increase in size and develop thicker walls and enlarged chamberss. This stiffening of the heart walls can sometimes lead to heart failure, especially in older adults with chronic diseases. What do I need to know about heart health when I’m in my 40s? The best thing patients in their 40s can do for theeir health is to make time for their heart. These patieents need to identify any heart disease risk factors theyy 0, may have. The more risk factors present at age 40 the more likely the patient will have poor heart health later in life. Cardiovascular risk factors include: • High blood pressure • High cholesterol • High body mass index (BMI) • Diabetes • Smoking What do I need to know when I’m in my 50s, 60s and beyond? During middle age, people tend to gain more weight and develop more cardiovascular risk factors. For patients struggling with their heart health in their 50s, there’s still time to make important changes. How else can I keep my heart healthy as I age? Exercising regularly and eating healthy are the best ways to improve heart health. Patients can make the effort to walk more and eat out less. No matter an individual’s age, focusing on heart health is worth it. People with more heart disease risks pay more for medical care, go to more appointments and have worse health outcomes. Take steps now to live healthier for a better quality of life. 664-919-490 1/21 Do I need to see my doctor even if I don’t have symptoms of heart disease? Even if patients aren’t experiencing any heart disease symptoms, that doesn’t doesn t mean they are in perfect health. Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or cholesterol often don’t have symptoms. At regular doctor appointments, providers check blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels to make sure they are in a normal range. How could COVID-19 affect heart health? The most common heart issue among COVID-19 patients is myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart tissue usually caused by a viral infection. In some patients, this can cause mild symptoms, while in others, lead to long-term consequences. In many cases, these issues affect those who are already susceptible to heart conditions. Learn more by contacting your doctor or calling Sanford Heart Bismarck at (701) 323-5202. Diane Kraft, MD, is a cardiologist at Sanford Heart Bismarck. She completed a cardiology fellowship at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa. She is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease.