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Are you wondering about heart health for seniors? As I start to get a little bit closer to sixty, I’ve noticed that I’m more aware of my health and more curious about health risks I might have to deal with as I get older. I know that I am more at risk for conditions that my parents have but there are also risks based on lifestyle choices I’ve made. I’d like to plan ahead so that I can keep track of warning symptoms and adjust my choices as I need to.
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Heart Health for Seniors
Heart disease is also known as cardiovascular disease and one of the most common types of heart disease is coronary artery disease which is damage to the heart’s major blood vessels. Another common heart condition found in seniors and older Americans is high blood pressure. Did you know that The American Heart Association estimates that more than 1 in 3 Americans 60 years of age old older – or 43 million older American adults – have one or more types of cardiovascular disease? Additionally, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in men and women over the age of 65.
Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans have suggested a few heart healthy tips you should pay attention to when it comes to heart health for seniors.
If you smoke, the best thing you can do to live longer is to stop tobacco use right now. The benefits start as soon as you stop. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Tobacco use increases the risk for heart disease and heart attack. Cigarette smoking damages the heart and blood vessels and nicotine raises blood pressure. Things like tar in cigarettes and the carbon monoxide produced reduce the amount of oxygen that your blood can deliver to your body. Secondhand smoke can also increase your risk for heart disease. So encourage friends and loved ones to stop too!
Watch your Alcohol Consumption
Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure which puts you at greater risk for heart disease. Alcohol in excess can also raise your triglycerides, which are a form of cholesterol. That can lead to hardening of the arteries.
Heart Healthy Foods for Seniors
The food you eat can help you live longer! Diets that are high in saturated fats (solids at room temperature), trans fats, and cholesterol have been linked to heart disease and related conditions, like hardening of the arteries. Diets that are high in sodium can raise blood pressure levels. Try not to add extra salt to your food. Make sure that you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains (if you eat grains), fish (preferably oily fish, at least twice per week), nuts and beans. Limit red meats and select lower fat dairy products and skinless poultry.
Being physically active is one of the best ways for you to live a heart-healthy life. Did you know that exercise can help lower your blood pressure, assist in weight control, and help you manage chronic diseases like diabetes? If you don’t normally exercise, start slowly by walking around your neighborhood; it’s easy and free. If you’re already active, try to add in moderate-to-vigorous exercises. Speak to your doctor about what types of exercises you should begin.
Have Regular Checkups
Did you know that older adults should see their health care provider on a regular basis? Many heart-related diseases don’t cause obvious symptoms. High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer” because people often don’t know they have it until it has already damaged their heart. Up to 80 percent of people 60 years of age and older have hypertension. Insurers, like Anthem’s affiliated Medicare health plans, offer benefits that include annual health screens at no cost to the consumer. Work with your doctor to manage any existing conditions you may have to improve your heart health.
If you’re wondering how to maintain good health in old age, these tips for heart health for seniors are a great place to start. Speak to your doctor about the changes you can and should make now so that they don’t become more serious as you get older.
Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans provided health and nutrition information that was used in this post including:
Four Keys to Heart Health for Older Adults
By Aaron Rosenberg, DO, MBA; Medical Director & Regional Vice President with Anthem, Inc.
Ellen is a busy mom of a 22-year-old son and 27-year-old daughter. She owns 5 blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn’t have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you’d like to work together, email email@example.com to chat.