Maintaining heart health as you age

Diagnostic testing can help to accurately detect and diagnose many heart conditions. However, many people tend to not be aware of symptoms, delay seeking tests or skip routine screening appointments, putting them at higher risk of conditions like heart failure as they age.

People worldwide are living longer. By 2050, the world’s population aged 60 and older will double in size and reach 2.1 billion.1 A longer life brings with it opportunities, yet the extent of these opportunities depends heavily on a person’s health, which can also be impacted with conditions that become more prevalent as we age, such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia, among others.

Managing heart health has never been more critical, particularly considering the increasing pressures health systems are facing, globally. Health systems everywhere feel pressured to keep up with a relentless flow of advances in science and technology, and at the same time, often experience substantial resource limitations impacting care delivery and patient outcomes. With age, people become more susceptible to conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes, both of which are heavily linked to heart failure.1 Maintaining a healthy heart in the form of healthy lifestyles, and active social lives can help limit or delay disease.

Understanding what diagnostics tests are used by clinicians can help individuals take control of their heart health, as these tools are able to identify those most at risk of developing heart failure, make an early diagnosis, and support decision-making for the most effective treatment.

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that can occur either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces to keep the blood sugar levels in the normal range. Hyperglycaemia, also known as too-high blood glucose, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems, especially nerves and blood vessels. Over time, glucose can also build up and damage vessels carrying blood to and from the heart. This can lead to high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.2

Hypertension happens when blood vessels become stiff and narrowed, making it more difficult for blood to travel efficiently throughout the body.3 This causes the heart to work harder by pumping blood more quickly, and over time, it becomes less efficient and weaker, known as heart failure, which can be caused by a number of issues, including high blood pressure and inflammation. 

Globally, 1.5 billion people are at a risk of developing heart failure and this number is expected to increase 46% by 2030.4 For people ages 65+, heart failure is a major cause for hospitalisation and can lead to death.5

Risk factors that you can control such as sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy eating, high cholesterol, and smoking, should be managed early to reduce the risk of developing heart failure.

In addition, actively looking out for signs and symptoms such as shortness of breath, swelling, fatigue, increased heart rate, chronic coughing, limited mobility, confusion, nausea, and reduced appetite can help early detection of conditions that lead to heart failure.

Nevertheless, heart failure remains challenging to detect because symptoms can be non-specific, and individuals may not present symptoms at early stages of disease. It is important to listen to your body, look out for these signs in loved ones, and get tested regularly - especially, if you notice changes.

of when she listened to what her body was telling her and she never gave up, ultimately, leading to her to survive a heart attack.

Diagnostic testing plays a critical role in helping individuals to proactively care for their heart health. Routine screenings can identify those most at risk of developing heart failure and monitor changes in the body to prevent disease progression. They can also help make an early diagnosis and support decision-making to ensure individuals receive the most effective treatment for the greatest chance of positive outcomes.

Solutions such as blood glucose meters, insulin delivery systems, and digital solutions for data management provide effective and convenient diabetes management support every day and can significantly improve quality of life.

Moreover electrocardiograms, biomarkers and echocardiography facilitate early detection, diagnosis, and management of heart failure.

A biomarker may be used to see how well the body responds to a treatment for a disease or condition. Also called molecular marker and signature molecule.

NT-proBNP is a protein released by the heart when the heart wall is stretched and is a biomarker that US and UK guidelines class as 1A for heart failure. A NT-proBNP blood test is a fast, cost-effective blood test measuring the level of a protein released by the heart muscle when it is under stress. It is recommended across the world to rapidly indicate the presence or absence of heart failure.

To achieve better patient care, clinicians rely more on biomarkers to tell a better and more complete story. Increasing innovation and advances within diagnostics allow for simple tests to capture data on these biomarkers and in turn provide clinicians more confidence in diagnosing patients effectively and efficiently.

in a lively discussion from 19 June on how diagnostics can help people age with healthy hearts, live an active life and enjoy all the precious moments with their loved ones.

Manage the onset and progression of heart failure through early testing and monitoring.

If there's a change, get it checked.


  1. World Health Organization. Ageing and health. Available from:Accessed 16 June 2023.

  2. World Health Organization. Classification of Diabetes Mellitus. Available from:Last accessed on 16 June 2023.

  3. American Heart Association. How High Blood Pressure Can Lead to Heart Failure. Available from:Last accessed on 16 June 2023.

  4. American Heart Association. Heart Failure Projected to Increase Dramatically, According to New Statistics.Last accessed on 16 June 2023.

  5. Cowie, M.R. et al. (2013) Improving care for patients with acute heart failure. Available from:Last accessed on16 June 2023.


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