Heart disease is the most frequent condition in older adults and the No. 1 cause of death. Heart failure, coronary artery disease, and atrial fibrillation are common reasons for health visits and hospital stays.
Normal aging causes your heart and blood vessels to stiffen, which can lead to these conditions in later years. For people older than 75, high blood pressure is the most common heart condition. Coronary artery disease and heart failure are next.
Systolic blood pressure (the top number in your blood pressure reading) rises with age. Over a lifetime, 9 out of 10 individuals will have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Your peak heart rate also declines as you age because of changes in the ability of your heart to pace itself.
Also, your function and mobility decreases as your muscles weaken. Being active is the best way to slow loss of muscle and maintain your aerobic capacity. While many older adults remain independent, your ability to do moderate to strenuous activity declines unless you take action to preserve it.
If you or a loved one is an older adult, use this condition center to learn what you can do to become empowered and be an advocate for your health.