Live a Healthy, Independent, and Longer Life for the Elderly with Heart Disease

Live a Healthy, Independent, and Longer Life for the Elderly with Heart Disease


For the elderly, a healthy heart means a good quality of life. However, the risk of developing heart problems goes up with age. In spite of that, the elderly can still live a healthy, independent, and longer life if they receive proper treatment in accordance with their heart condition.

All About Elderly 

Aging is an inevitable part of life. We will be part of those people we call the elderly eventually.  Biologically, aging occurs due to the build-up of cellular and molecular damage that varies over time. This process leads to a decrease in mental and physical ability, an increased risk of disease, and ultimately death.

There are several health conditions commonly found in the elderly, for example:

  • Hearing loss
  • Cataract
  • Back and neck pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Dementia

Old age is also marked by the emergence of several health conditions called geriatric syndromes, such as weakness and increased risk of falling, urinary incontinence (urine leaks without you realizing it), and delirium. Heart disease is also common in the elderly, especially if you have main risk factors for heart and blood vessels or cardiovascular problems.

All About Heart Disease

Heart disease refers to several kinds of problems that affect the performance of the heart. One that is commonly found in the elderly is coronary heart disease, which is characterized by disruption of blood flow to the heart. When our heart does not get enough blood supply, we may suffer a heart attack.

Heart disease is often referred to as the silent killer. It is because the people who experience it might not be diagnosed until they show symptoms or signs of a heart attack, heart failure, or abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmias). Those symptoms include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort 
  • Upper back and neck pain
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Dizzy
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Heart palpitations
  • Swelling in the legs, abdomen, or veins of the neck

Heart disease can affect people of all ages. Among the elderly, a healthy heart must be sought from early age, including through a healthy and active lifestyle. Heart-healthy exercise can also be a way to take care of the heart, especially for people who are entering the elderly period.

Heart Disease in the Elderly

Adults aged 65 and older are more susceptible to heart disease than younger people. Heart disease is a major cause of disability, activity limitations, and decreased quality of life for millions of elderly people.

Heart and blood vessels conditions are changed because of the aging process. For example, when we get older, our heart rate will not be the same as when we were younger during physical activities. However, the number of times our heart beats per minute does not change significantly with age.

These changes may put us at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Especially when we paid less attention to our heart health when we were younger. The main cause of heart disease is the accumulation of fat, cholesterol, and other substances inside the walls of arteries over the year. Older people with healthy heart generally adopt a healthy lifestyle throughout young adulthood. This lifestyle can delay, reduce, and even prevent the risk of heart disease in old age.

Possible Heart Disease Prevention and Therapy for the Elderly

People can make an effort to prevent heart disease despite their age. For the elderly, it is better to take the best possible precautions earlier than having to undergo heart surgery or taking drug therapy for heart disease later.

Although aging is an independent risk factor for heart disease, we may still able to control the other risk factors, for example by eating healthy foods, avoiding cigarettes, exercising regularly, and keeping blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure levels within normal limits. The elderly can also undergo cardiac therapy, especially if there are signs and symptoms of heart disease. The therapy includes:

  • Lifestyle modification to be healthier, such as quitting smoking, adjusting diet, and exercising regularly.
  • Use of drugs to treat risk factors for heart disease, for example drugs to treat diabetes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and prevent blood clots.

These therapies need to be carried out by or under supervision of professionals, especially cardiologists. Medical personnel who are experts in heart disease therapy may guide the patients during therapy sessions.

How to Lead a Quality Life with Heart Disease

Heart disease may lead to poor quality of life. But there are still ways to maintain the quality of life with a rehabilitation program. Cardiac rehabilitation can help your heart because it can prevent symptoms of heart disease from coming back, relieve symptoms of heart disease, and train patients to build daily habits that are good for the heart.

Therapeutic programs that are part of rehabilitation can also help the elderly patients lead independent and quality lives. The therapist will assist the elderly to overcome limitations caused by certain medical procedures, such as heart surgery. As one of heart disease treatment options, surgery may be needed so the patients will need a longer time to recover and to adapt to new habits after the surgery.

Not only providing physical assistance, the therapist will also care for the patient mentally to anticipate declining mental health conditions triggered by limitations due to the heart problem. Regular health checks are also one of the keys to ensure the elderly can live a quality life with heart disease.

Reviewed by:
Ditinjau oleh:

Dr. Eddy Wiria, PhD

Co-Founder & CEO Kavacare