Improving Heart Health for Seniors and Older Americans

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.

Heart Health for Seniors with a blood pressure cuff

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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.

Stop Smoking

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

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.

Stay Active

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.

women walking

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:

Good Nutrition Is Important to Heart Health
By Brittaney Bialas, MS, RDN, LDN; Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with Anthem, Inc.

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  1. These are all definitely great tips about staying heart healthy as you get older. Getting exercise and eating foods with lower sodium is definitely important. I love the AHA and all of the helpful information they have on their site. My family is on a heart healthy diet and I've learned a lot from them! One of my favorite things is the heart check on food labels. It's so easy to find food approved by the American Heart Association, when you look for the heart check. Don't be fooled though, by just a heart, make sure it's from the AHA. Other companies can be deceptive.
  2. Shakeia Rieux says:
    This post is very informative! This is definitely something I will keep in mind

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