The heart is arguably the most important muscle in the body, and keeping it strong is essential for a long, healthy life. Heart disease is a leading cause of death in older adults, so it’s important to make lifestyle choices that can promote heart health. February is American Heart Month, and it is a great time to improve heart health by implementing healthy habits that will help reduce the risk of heart disease.
While the risk of heart disease increases with age, it does not have to be an inevitable part of the aging process. Small steps and lifestyle modifications can greatly improve heart health and prevent the onset of heart disease.
Warning Signs of Heart Disease
Heart disease can lead to a number of life-threatening complications that frequently aren’t detected until a person has a heart attack. If you or a love does experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to get emergency assistance right way:
- Feeling faint, weak, or light-headed
- Trouble breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- A sense of fullness or indigestion
- Pain or an uncomfortable pressure in the chest
- Unusual pain in the back, neck, or shoulders
- A rapid or irregular heartbeat
Preventing Heart Disease
The good news is that, with a little effort, you can keep your heart healthy no matter how old you are. Here’s how:
- Get moving. Getting enough exercise, at least 30 minutes per day, helps lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure, keeping the heart strong. Exercise can take on a variety of forms, such as a walk around the block, gardening, cleaning, or seated activities for older adults who are less mobile.
- Don’t smoke. Refrain from smoking, or quit if you are already a smoker.
- Maintain a heart-friendly diet. A diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables with limited saturated fats and salt is best.
- Keep track of your health. Visit your doctor regularly to monitor vital health information that impacts the heart such as blood pressure and cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Making sure these levels stay in normal ranges is key to heart health.
- Cut back on alcohol intake. Alcohol consumption can worsen conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol, so reducing intake is important.
- Reduce stress. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol, high levels of which can have long-term negative effects on the body, like raised blood pressure, increased cholesterol, etc. Finding ways to reduce stress can help lower cortisol levels and put less strain on the heart.
Making the effort to improve heart health can feel overwhelming at first. Remember to take it slow. Changing everything all at once may seem like the right course of action, but it can lead to frustration, burn out, and falling back on old habits. Making meaningful incremental changes over time can help you see progress and sustain the change. Jewish Family Home Care, one of the leading home care agencies in Sunrise, FL and the surrounding areas, is skilled at assisting seniors in making health lifestyle changes that benefit overall health and wellness. We provide a variety of in-home care services including offering encouragement to engage in regular exercise, helping plan and prepare meals that are both tasty and good for the heart, and much more.
If you would like to learn more about our Sunrise home care services and the other areas we serve, feel free to contact us online or give us a call at 954-908-5677. We’ll be happy to schedule a free in-home consultation and answer any questions you might have.