Heart Healthy Habits for Seniors
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has coined the month of February as American Heart Month. NHLBI does this by raising awareness about heart health and urging Americans to reduce their risk for developing heart disease.
Facts About Heart Disease
It’s important to know the facts about heart disease as it’s the leading cause of death of people in the US. According to the CDC:
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
- One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.
- About 659,000 people in the United States die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
- Heart disease costs the United States about $363 billion each year from 2016 to 2017. This includes the cost of health care services, medicines, and lost productivity due to death.
Taking care of your heart health is so important and there’s a lot you can do to prevent heart disease.
Here are a few healthy habits to keep your heart in great shape!
Follow a Heart-Healthy Diet
Low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, colorful fruits and vegetables are great for your heart and seniors should get at least five servings of these per day. Make sure to read all nutritional facts and limit saturated and trans fats and added sugars. Nuts and high-fiber foods are great to have, while you’ll want to avoid high-fat dairy or meats. Make sure to stay hydrated and limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
High visceral fat levels can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, breathing issues, and certain types of cancer. But managing your weight can help to lower many of these levels and improve your overall health. Consult with your doctor about the right BMI for you. Following a heart-healthy diet and being physically active can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight!
Regular exercise can help you lose excess body weight, improve physical fitness and well-being, and lower your risk for many conditions, including heart disease risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. See Four Easy and Impactful Chair Exercises for Seniors. Always consult your doctor before you start a new fitness routine, especially if you have physical impairments or take certain medications.
According to NHLBI, small acts of self-care, like taking walks, getting quality sleep, and cooking healthy meals, help your heart.
Research from Harvard University suggested stress could be as important a risk factor as smoking or high blood pressure. Chronic stress can affect your memory, learning, immune system, anxiety, and depression, especially as you age.
Here are a few self-care tips provided by NHLBI:
- Get a daily dose of physical activity.
- Quit smoking.
- Cook meals that are low in sodium and unhealthy fats.
- Take your medications as prescribed and keep your medical appointments.
- Sleep 7-8 hours a night.
- Manage stress through, for example, meditation, yoga, a warm bath, or quiet time with a good book or funny movie.
Early heart disease can be unnoticeable. It’s important to maintain regular check-ups with your primary care physician to ensure your health. Contact your doctor if you experience any of these common symptoms:
- Feeling faint
- Weakness or a sensation of light-headedness
- Having a hard time catching your breath
- Feeling nauseous or vomiting
- Feeling very full or having indigestion
- Pain in the chest or an uncomfortable pressure in the chest
- Unusual pains in the back, shoulders, or neck
- An irregular heartbeat
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In conjunction with our Living Well Is Being Well mission, our maintenance-free lifestyle is designed around our belief that if you live well, you will be well. It presents you with extra time to concentrate on your health and wellness goals, explore new interests and continue your story in the company of friends and povidones’ believe the engagement of the mind, body and spirit will provide you with a lifestyle that is interesting, fulfilling and rewarding.
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