Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in seniors and older adults. With only one heart in our bodies, it’s vital to keep good care of it to ensure a long, healthy, and satisfying life. As we age, a number of factors that can negatively affect our hearts build up over time, making it even more important to do everything we can to keep it working as well as it possibly can.
- Quitting smoking. Smoking has a long, well-researched and well-supported list of deleterious effects on the human body. Particularly of interest to the heart is that it causes poor circulation, narrowing of the arteries, higher blood pressure, and increased plaque buildup, all of which cause major risk of a heart attack.
- Managing chronic conditions. Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, all of these chronic conditions put extra strain on the heart and damage to the circulatory system. Discussing with your healthcare provider any changes in activity, diet, lifestyle, or medications to keep these conditions under control will, in turn, help keep your heart healthy.
- Staying active. Your heart is a muscle and like all muscles, regular, moderate exercise will improve it. Try to get at least thirty minutes of activity at least five days a week.
- Adjust your diet. Foods high in bad fats, cholesterol, sodium, and other things can weaken your heart. Gradually swapping out the unhealthy things in your fridge for better choices is a much more likely strategy for success than overhauling your diet all at once.