Your Heart as You Age (Infographic)

Your heart is one of your most important organs, and it’s time you start treating it better! The heart goes through many changes as you age, and different things become important at various times. The World Heart Federation has a Heart Age Calculator that can tell you how healthy your heart is based on statistics. Learn more about the heart at each stage of life, and what you can do to be heart-healthy!

Your Heart As You Age | UnityPoint At Home

Babies

A mother who exercises before the birth of her baby can help the baby’s heart develop healthily. Studies show that exercise lowers the baby’s heart rate, which is an indicator of a healthy heart. Newborn’s hearts are different from the hearts of still-developing babies. That is why premature babies sometimes have heart problems. 

Toddlers

Serving your growing toddlers healthy, filling foods will help them grow into healthy kids. As a parent, you get to decide what your child eats, so now is a good time to find out what fruits and veggies they like by exposing them to lots of different healthy options. 

Children

A child’s heart is the size of a clenched fist. He or she is still growing and learning, but the routines and skills learned now will help later in life. The American Heart Association recommends that parents teach their kids about seven steps they can take to lead a healthier life and ultimately prevent heart and vascular problems later in life. These tips include playing every day for physical exercise, keeping a healthy weight and having proper blood pressure. It is also important to learn about cholesterol, why smoking is bad, eating a well-balanced diet, and about blood sugar and diabetes. 

Teenagers

The teen years are an important time for growth and development. Changes happen not only physically, but also emotionally and socially. Teenagers begin to try new things, some which can damage their health in the long run. Smoking is a major factor in heart health, and about  68 percent of adults who smoke started around the age of 18,  according to the American Heart Association. Statistically, 3,900 teenagers under the age of 18 try their first cigarette every day. The most important aspect of this is parental guidance and talking to kids and teens about the dangers of smoking.

Healthy Teenager

  • Non-smoker

  • Eats a well-balanced diet

  • Healthy physical activity level

Semi-Healthy Teenager

  • Non-smoker

  • Eats a semi-healthy diet

  • Gets some physical activity

Unhealthy Teenager

  • Smoker

  • Poor diet

  • No physical activity

Young Adults

Young adulthood is a prime time to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that healthy lifestyles disappear as we age, but sticking to them can lower your risk of heart problems in the future. Maintaining a healthy BMI, avoiding excess alcohol, not smoking, eating a well-balanced diet and regularly exercising are all important to start in young adulthood. A full-grown female adult heart weighs around 8 ounces, and a male heart weighs 10 ounces.

Healthy Young Adult

  • Maintains a healthy BMI

  • Non-drinker

  • Non-smoker

  • Eats a well-balanced diet

  • Regularly exercises

Semi-Healthy Young Adult

  • Maintains a semi-healthy BMI

  • Drinks in moderation

  • Non-smoker

  • Eats a semi-healthy diet

  • Sometimes exercises

Unhealthy Young Adult

  • Has an unhealthy BMI

  • Drinks in excess

  • Smokes

  • Poor diet

  • Never exercises

Adults

The size of an adult's heart is comparable to two clenched fists. An individual's family history is a crucial part of knowing your heart health risks. If either of your parents experienced a heart attack before the age of 55, your heart risk is much higher than normal. Ask your family members if they have cardiovascular disease, which can include high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart attack, valvular heart disease, stroke or irregular heartbeats.

Healthy Adult

  • Eats a well-balanced diet

  • Exercises regularly

  • Non-smoker

  • No family history of cardiovascular disease

  • Healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Semi-Healthy Adult

  • Eats a semi-healthy diet

  • Sometimes exercises

  • Non-smoker

  • Possible family history of cardiovascular disease

  • Takes medication for blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Unhealthy Adult

  • Poor diet

  • No exercise

  • Smokes

  • Family history of cardiovascular disease

  • High blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Middle-Aged Adults

Middle-age is when people begin thinking about heart attack and heart disease risks. Typical issues like an unhealthy diet and no exercise may result in high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Studies show that stress is also a factor in many cases of heart attacks. Individuals experiencing a lot of stress have a higher risk of heart disease as well. Adults around middle-age are still working while also dealing with young adult children and possibly aging parents. It’s important to check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Healthy Middle-Aged Adult

  • Eats a well-balanced, heart-healthy diet

  • Exercises regularly

  • Non-smoker

  • Healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels

  • Manages stress

Semi-Healthy Middle-Aged Adult

  • Eats a semi-healthy diet

  • Sometimes exercises

  • Non-smoker

  • Takes medication for blood pressure and cholesterol

  • Manages stress

Unhealthy Middle-Aged Adult

  • Poor diet

  • No exercise

  • Smoker

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • High stress

Elderly Adults

No matter your health, as you age the walls of your heart thicken, your heart rate slows and the heart muscle loses strength. Emotional stress can take a harder toll on an elderly person, often causing chest pain or fainting when sudden or traumatic occurrences cause an increase in heart rate. An aging heart is also less equipped to handle things such as illness, infection and injuries. Your family history can play a part in the development of some heart conditions. However, this is the only risk factor that cannot be controlled. A family history risk means that your mother or father experienced a heart attack before the age of 55. Smoking, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and obesity are risk factors for heart problems in older years.

Healthy Elderly Adult

  • Non-smoker

  • Eats a well-balanced, heart-healthy diet

  • Exercises regularly

  • Has a healthy weight

  • Non-drinker

Semi-Healthy Elderly Adult

  • Non-smoker

  • Eats a semi-healthy diet

  • Gets limited exercise

  • Is a little overweight

  • Moderate alcohol consumption

Unhealthy Elderly Adult

  • Smoker

  • Poor diet

  • No exercise

  • Overweight or obese

  • Binge alcohol consumption

If you have an unhealthy lifestyle, or if you simply want to make better choices for your heart, trust the UnityPoint at Home Cardiac Care Team to get you on track!

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