Healthy Aging

Think you’re Heart Smart? Take our Quiz

Keeping your heart healthy, as we all know, is crucial especially as we get older. But how smart are you about your heart health? We cooked up this quiz with the help of Megan Kamath, MD, cardiologist at UCLA Health specializing in heart failure.

Let’s see how smart you are. Just read the following statements, answer true or false, then see how well you did.

We’re posting this on February 1 because? It’s National Wear Red For Heart Health Day, says the American Heart Association…and Senior Planet.


  1. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart just simply stops.
  2. Having heart disease runs in my family, so genetics pretty much doom me.
  3. I eat healthy and exercise regularly. I am still overweight, but I’m ”fat but fit” so it’s not a problem as far as heart risks.  
  4. I already had a heart attack, so there’s not much I can do at this point to reduce risk.
  5. My LDL (“bad”) cholesterol is high, but my HDL (“good”) is very healthy, so that cancels out the bad effects of the high LDL.
  6. Foods high in some kinds of fats but not others can be hard on heart health.
  7. Shortness of breath and fatigue just occur normally with age.
  8. I had a heart attack, so I know I need to take it easy on the exercise.
  9. I take a statin drug to lower cholesterol, but I know I need to watch my diet, too.
  10. I’ve smoked for years, so quitting now won’t do much good as far as heart health.
  11. Some so-called ”super foods” can actually prevent heart disease.
  12. If you are having a heart attack, you will definitely know it.


1.False. “Heart failure is a weakness of the heart muscle,” Dr. Kamath says. Cardiac arrest describes the condition in which the heart stops. And, here is how cardiac arrest differs from a heart attack.

2. False. While family history of heart attack or stroke does raise your risk of having the same issues, it doesn’t doom you. However, experts say you should pay extra close attention to following healthy habits. The American Heart Association suggests following these 7 steps. 

3.False. The ”fat but fit” idea was busted in a recent study. Carrying extra weight increases the risk of a heart attack in otherwise healthy people, the researchers found. Overweight was a body mass index of 25 to 30. You can calculate your BMI here.  

4. False. You’re not off the hook by a long shot. Here’s what you can do.

5. False. Experts say that’s not so. Read the bad news here.  High LDL by itself boosts the risk of heart issues.

6.True. Here’s the skinny on heart-healthy and not heart-healthy fats.  

7.False. Simply not true, Dr. Kamath says. If you notice either, it’s time to talk to your doctor about it, she says. 

8.False. Exactly the opposite. You should start to get in activity slowly and under your doctor’s supervision, but here is what to expect.

9.True. Cutting down on saturated fats, boosting fiber and other measures can help.

10.False. One  year after quitting, your risk of heart disease drops to about half of a smoker’s. More statistics here.

11.False. No single food or even several foods termed healthy can prevent heart disease. But certain foods are much more beneficial for heart health. Read that list here. And your overall diet plan can help; the Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.   

12. False. One in 5 are silent, according to the CDC.

How’d you do? Feel free to brag in the comments with your score!

Note: For the over-60 population, Dr. Kamath says it’s especially important to stay active. She points patients to the American Heart Association guidelines, recommending 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, but get your doctor’s go-ahead first if you are sedentary. She urges people to keep those routine appointments with their physicians—and to call their doctor when conditions or symptoms seem more urgent. Watching your diet—loading up on fruits and vegetables, cutting back on fats and cholesterol-laden foods—is another smart heart health move, she says.

This article offered by Senior Planet and Older Adults Technology Services is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition or before starting an exercise program.  If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.  



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