Study Concludes Seniors Can Reduce the Risk of Heart Failure by 50%

Senior heart health

The heart could be considered the hardest-working muscle in the body and even small changes in a person’s daily routine can dramatically improve cardiovascular health and decrease the risk of heart disease. Senior citizens are susceptible to heart disease and a study from Tufts University in Boston found seniors 55 and older can reduce their risk of heart failure by 50% by implementing changes centered around increased activity and a balanced diet.1 Lina Del Gobbo, a doctoral student at Tufts who worked on the study, found that seniors 55+ have a one-in-three chance of developing heart failure in their lifetimes. 1

Heart Disease in Seniors

Heart failure is when the heart fails to pump sufficient blood and oxygen to satisfy the body’s needs and it is the main cause of hospitalization of people who are covered by Medicare. Those who are 65 and older are more likely to suffer a heart attack, to have a stroke, or to develop heart disease and heart failure. Heart disease is a major cause of disability that can limit activity and affect the quality of life of those who suffer from it.

The heart and blood vessels change as one ages. For example, the heart can’t beat nearly as fast during physical activity or during times of stress as it did during one’s youth. These changes are what increases a person’s risk of heart disease with a major cause of the disease being the buildup of fatty deposits in the walls of arteries over many years. If that is the case, you or your loved one can delay, lower, avoid, or even reverse your risk of heart disease with a healthy diet and active lifestyle.

Heart arteries can harden with age and this causes high blood pressure which is also common as you or your loved one ages. High blood pressure and age increases the risk of developing heart disease, but it isn’t an inevitable consequence of aging. Heart disease is caused when plaque builds up in the arteries and blood flow is reduced. This damage can be caused by heavy alcohol use, diabetes, or even a heart attack. Diabetes is common among seniors and can develop at any age due to poor diet and being overweight as well as genetics and environmental factors. However, if diabetes goes untreated, it can cause heart disease among other problems,

Some medications can also lead to heart problems or even heart failure. Medications that can increase the risk of heart problems include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, certain anesthesia medications, some anti-arrhythmic medications, and even some high blood pressure medicine. If you or your loved ones are taking medications that may lead to heart problems, you shouldn’t just stop taking them, but consult with your doctor about any changes that could be made or what to look for as symptoms. 4 

Signs of Heart Disease

Early heart disease can go untreated because the symptoms can be unnoticeable which is why regular doctor’s appointments are important. Symptoms of heart disease can include chest pain, pressure or discomfort; however, chest pain isn’t always a common sign. Other signs of progressive heart disease include: 1

·         Pain, numbness and/or tingling in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back

·         Shortness of breath when active, at rest or lying flat

·         Chest pain during physical activity that gets better when resting

·         Lightheadedness

·         Dizziness

·         Confusion

·         Headaches

·         Cold sweats

·         Nausea/vomiting

·         Tiredness or fatigue

·         Swelling in the ankles, legs, feet, stomach and/or neck

·         Reduced ability to exercise or be physically active

Senior citizens also have more problems with arrhythmia, a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. An arrhythmia can cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm. You or your loved one should consult a doctor if you feel a fluttering in your chest or the feeling that your heart is skipping a beat or beating too hard, especially if you or your loved one feels weaker than normal, dizzy, tired or short of breath when active.

Alert1’s on-the-go medical alert systems allow members to know that they can receive help wherever they are. Once a member sends an alert, Alert1’s emergency response team stays on the line until help arrives. If you or your loved one are experiencing heart problems, Alert1 will be one button push away. Also, Alert1’s fall detection systems contain technology that can sense a fall, due to heart problems or other reasons, and automatically call for help and connect to the 24/7 Command Center. The technology also has built-in GPS that allows Alert1 to pinpoint the exact location in which an emergency is occurring.

Foods for Heart Health

You or your loved one can reduce the risk of developing heart disease by eating certain foods every day. A variety of fruits and vegetables are good for your heart, and foods that are eaten in their natural form, as they come from the ground, are the best foods to consume. Heart-healthy foods include nuts, fish, whole grains and olive oil, and even occasional treats like red wine or dark chocolate are also known to be heart friendly.

Fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring or trout are high in omega-3s and are a good option for those concerned about heart health. Also, a handful of healthy nuts such as almonds and walnuts are a great snack to satisfy hunger and are heart healthy. Other snacks include berries like blueberries, strawberries, blackberries or raspberries because they are full of heart-healthy phytonutrients and soluble fiber. Other foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestrogens to boost heart health are seeds like chia seeds and flaxseeds. Oats and legumes like beans and lentils such as garbanzo, pinto, kidney and black beans are all nutrient powerhouse foods. 2 

The Take-away

Implementing life changes like healthier eating, exercise, quitting smoking, drinking less and trying to reduce stress can all slow the rate of aging in the heart and its arteries. A healthy and active lifestyle can help you or your loved one maintain a healthy weight and keep your diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol under control, which can all help lower the risks of heart disease.

These measures, along with a trusted medical alert system, can help seniors age-in-place. Alert1 allows seniors to stay protected at home and on-the-go with medical alert systems that connect to a 24/7 Command Center. Help is only a button push away with Alert1 and allows you or your loved one to feel secure, knowing someone is standing by whenever assistance is needed.





1 Algar, Jim. (2015, July 7). Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Halve Heart Failure Risk Among Seniors. Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Halve Heart Failure Risk Among Seniors


2 Nutrition Editorial. (2019, July 12). 12 Heart-Healthy Foods to Work into Your Diet. 12 Heart-Healthy Foods to Work into Your Diet


3 Carter, Clint. (2020, April 23). Olive Oil: Your Pantry's Secret to a Longer Life. Find the Best Olive Oil for Your Heart Health


4 Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, May 29). Heart Failure. Heart failure - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic