One of the primary concerns for those aged 65+ is maintaining the health of their heart, and for good reason. Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, is the number one killer of Americans each year. Embracing a healthy lifestyle at any age can help prevent heart disease and lower one’s risk for a heart attack or stroke. That said, you are never too old or too young to begin taking care of your heart. February is American Heart Month, making it the perfect time to protect the hearts of your loved ones.
Your Heart Serves Many Roles
Why is heart health essential for your overall good health? For starters, it pumps nutrient-rich blood throughout your body. While supplying oxygen to your tissues, your heart also helps remove toxins and waste. As the main component of your cardiovascular system, your heart is responsible for almost everything that gives your body life, from transporting life-giving oxygen to ensuring your immune system functions optimally.
Heart Disease Risk Factors
Many different factors can make you more likely to develop heart disease. Some you can control, while others you cannot control.
In general, heart disease risk factors include:
Your risk goes up as you get older.
Some factors may affect heart disease differently in women than in men.
A family history of early heart disease raises your risk.
Certain groups have higher risks than others.
Unhealthy lifestyle habits
These include physical inactivity, smoking, drinking alcohol to excess, elevated stress levels, and eating a diet high in saturated fats, salt, and refined carbohydrates.
Other medical conditions
High blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, chronic kidney disease, autoimmune diseases, and inflammatory diseases can all raise your risk for heart disease.
Heart-Healthy Habits for Seniors and Caregivers
Put the odds back in your favor by including these heart-healthy habits in your daily routine:
Eating the right foods can help you control your weight, blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure – all of which benefit your heart. Follow a heart-healthy diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.
Physical activity and regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and even reverse some risk factors, such as high blood pressure or being overweight.
Manage blood pressure
Eating a heart-healthy diet and staying active, along with lowering your salt intake and managing stress, can help prevent the development of hypertension or naturally lower your blood pressure if it’s too high.
Get plenty of sleep
Sleeping restfully for a full seven to eight hours per night is a precursor for good heart health.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is referred to as “bad” cholesterol because higher than normal levels can clog your arteries. Conversely, high-density lipids (HDL) are “good” for your heart because they help remove bad cholesterol from your arteries. Know your cholesterol numbers and make lifestyle changes as needed.
Quit unhealthy habits
Be sure to avoid cigarettes, too much alcohol, or non-heart-healthy foods. Find positive ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, Yoga, laughing more, or keeping a daily journal.
Speak to a doctor
If you have concerns about heart health, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or another healthcare provider to discuss your options. The good news is that if you are diagnosed with heart disease, there are medications that can help manage it, along with lifestyle modifications.
An Extended Family in Your Loved One’s Home
Helping an aging loved one protect their heart isn’t always easy. When you need assistance, contact AmeriCare Plus. Located in Virginia, we are a fully licensed and insured home care provider with highly trained professionals who are experts at delivering the nurturing your loved one deserves. While serving as an extended family in your senior’s home, our compassionate caregivers can perform duties like light housekeeping, personal care, dementia care, companionship care, medication reminders, and even live-in and 24-hour care.
Our agency’s focus is maintaining your loved one’s quality of life, along with their dignity, self-esteem, and independence. For your added convenience, all our in-home services can be individually personalized into an affordable package when and where you need them! Please visit us here now to learn more about us or schedule a FREE initial consultation for a senior in our service area.