AGING IN PLACE: Tips to help maintain good heart health as we age

February is American Heart Month
Beckie Spaid with Care Advantage offers tips on monitoring warning signs of possible heart disease
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 6:22 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Age can cause changes to our hearts.

Beckie Spaid, a Senior Home Care Specialist with Care Advantage, says age-related changes can lead to arrhythmias, a rapid, slowed, or irregular heartbeat—and/or the need for a pacemaker.

“Valves may become thicker and stiffer. Stiffer valves can limit the flow of blood out of the heart and become leaky, both of which can cause fluid to build up in the lungs or in other parts of the body,” says Spaid.

“With increasing age, people become more sensitive to salt, which may cause an increase in blood pressure and/or ankle or foot swelling,” she adds.

There are some signs to watch out for that could indicate heart disease:

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

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

Chest pain during physical activity that gets better when you rest





Cold sweats


Tiredness or fatigue

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

Reduced ability to exercise or be physically active

Problems doing your normal activities

Spaid stresses problems with arrhythmia are much more common in older adults than younger people.

“See a doctor if you feel a fluttering in your chest or have the feeling that your heart is skipping a beat or beating too hard, especially if you are weaker than usual, dizzy, tired, or get short of breath when active,” she adds.