Avoiding heart problems in your 80s

Advancing age may warrant changes to preventive therapies for heart disease. But one size does not fit all.


Image: © Willowpix/Getty Images

Currently, the average life expectancy in the United States is about 79 years. But among people who survive to age 80 and beyond, health status can vary quite a bit. Some stay hale and hearty for years, while others gradually become weak and frail.

These differences are one reason there aren't any set guidelines for preventing heart disease in octogenarians. But there's a larger underlying issue — one that also explains why heart attack risk calculators (such as www.health.harvard.edu/heartrisk) don't allow you to enter an age above 79.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »