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Good heart health is important for your overall health. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a disease of the heart and blood vessels (veins and arteries). CVD is the leading cause of death in women in Australia.

There are many risk factors for CVD, including age. The older you get, the greater your risk.

Learn about heart changes as you get older and important heart health checks.

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Heart changes

As you get older, your heart changes. For example, the large arteries become stiffer, and the heart muscle works harder but pumps less effectively. Blood vessels become less flexible and there is an increased risk of blood clots. These changes increase your risk of developing heart conditions.

The good news is lifestyle changes (e.g. a healthy diet and regular exercise) can reduce your risk of heart conditions.

It’s important to get help or talk to your doctor if you have symptoms that could indicate a heart problem. For example:

  • an irregular heartbeat (arrythmia)
  • breathlessness.

Learning that you have a heart condition can affect you physically and emotionally. It can help to learn more about your condition and different treatment options.

Read about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and stroke.

You can also read Heart health: what women need to know.

Heart health checks

It’s important to understand key health measures such as your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol results.

You can ask your doctor to check these markers regularly and discuss follow-up plans if needed.

Learn more about key health measures.

Visit the Heart Foundation website to learn more about heart health checks.

This con­tent has been reviewed by a group of med­ical sub­ject mat­ter experts, in accor­dance with Jean Hailes pol­i­cy.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Heart, stroke and vascular disease: Australian facts, July 2023
MSD Manual, Consumer Version, Effects of Aging on the Heart and Blood Vessels
Singam NSV, Fine C, Fleg JL. Cardiac changes associated with vascular aging. Clin Cardiol. 2020;43(2):92-98. doi:10.1002/clc.23313
Last updated: 
30 April 2024
Last reviewed: 
02 February 2024

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