According to the American Heart Association, more than 85 million American adults have one or more types of cardiovascular disease. Of these, more than 43 million are age 60 or older. Heart disease is the most frequent condition in older adults and the leading cause of death. Heart failure, coronary artery disease and atrial fibrillation are common reasons for health visits and hospital stays.
As we close out American Heart Month, here are some health changes that can help lower your risk of developing heart disease:
- Be physically active every day – It’s important to get daily exercise to help reduce your risk of heart disease. You should aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, most days of the week. Regular physical activity can also help reduce the risk of developing other conditions that are risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
- Choose good nutrition – A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help protect your heart. You also want to limit salt, saturated fat, trans fat and refined sugars. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to adopting a heart-healthy diet, the Mediterranean and DASH diets are two food plans that include foods that are good for your heart.
- Stop smoking – When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe. However, no matter how much or how long you’ve smoked, your risk of heart disease lowers soon after you quit smoking.
- Reduce stress – Managing stress and anger can benefit your overall health. Common reactions to stress may include aches and pains, decreased energy and sleep, feelings of anxiety, anger or depression and forgetfulness. Find healthy ways to manage your stress including physical activity, relaxation or meditation. Something as simple as taking a walk in nature can help clear your mind or talking to a trusted friend or loved one can help reduce your stress level.
When changing your physical activity or diet, it’s always good to first consult with your doctor to help you create a plan for your overall health. As you age, blood pressure and cholesterol tend to rise so it’s also important to watch the numbers closely and let your doctor know of any changes.
At CESI, we understand the value of a healthy lifestyle and ensure our participants socialize with peers, participate in meaningful activities, engage in physical and mental exercise, eat a healthy diet, learn to manage chronic disease and maintain compliance with directives from physicians. Learn more about a day in the life of our participants at http://www.elderdayservices.org/daily/.
Sources: American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control