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Overview

Heart in Context

Heart disease is common in older adults and often is present with other chronic conditions. A chronic condition is one that requires treatment by a health care professional for longer than a year.

Often, heart disease must be treated in the context of these other conditions because treatment for one may hurt the other. For example, if you need to take blood thinners for atrial fibrillation, it is important to consider any history of bleeding. In addition, aging in the liver and kidneys changes how medications affect the older body.

When treatment is needed, setting goals for heart care can keep the focus on treatments most likely to achieve them, which is even more important when you have more than one condition. Your heart treatment plan should take into account all your conditions.

Keeping in mind the relationship among diseases and their treatments is a main concern. Health care professionals must work together to ensure care is effective.

Most important, many trials of evidence-based medicine did not include individuals with more than one chronic condition or those older than 75. Therefore, it's not certain whether older adults with many conditions will enjoy the same benefits for treatments tested in other groups of adults.

A geriatric cardiology approach to treatment considers the heart in context of other conditions, your goals for health, and prioritizes quality of life.

  • Last Edited 01/31/2018