While people of any age can develop heart disease, the National Institutes of Health states that it is far more common past the age of 65. Once you get into the senior years, your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, heart failure or developing coronary artery disease increase significantly. While that may sound discouraging, you can take several steps to care for your body and prevent heart disease as you get older.
Increase Your Physical Activity for a Healthier Body
Exercising does not mean that you have to pay money for a gym membership and spend an hour or more each day working out. To become more active, simply start by doing more of things you already enjoy such as walking, biking, dancing, gardening or bowling. Regular physical activity helps to lower blood pressure, lose weight and fight depression. These things can all play a role in reducing heart problems.
Consume a Diet with Heart Health in Mind
One of the most important things you can do is eat a healthy and balanced diet. Unfortunately, the word diet often has a negative association with the need to deprive ourselves. With a heart-healthy diet, you will not have to give up everything you love. You simply need to watch and limit your intake of sugar, saturated fat and salt. Cardiologists do recommend avoiding trans fats as much as possible. Some foods that are especially healthy for your heart include berries, olive oil, nuts and salmon.
Giving up smoking is essential to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and other heart-related illnesses. Smoking causes plaque to build up inside of the arteries in your heart, which is called atherosclerosis. A significant build-up of plaque can cause a heart attack or stroke by restricting normal blood flow to your organs.
Control Other Chronic Health Conditions That You Already Have
If you have a condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, it is essential to control it the best you can. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can help to dramatically reduce your risk of heart issues as you get older. Each of these conditions can cause or worsen heart disease, so be sure to work with your doctor on medication management and lifestyle modifications.
Symptoms Are Warning Signs for Your Body
PrimeCare Urgent Care urges you to never ignore sudden or worsening symptoms such as:
- Chest pain
- Exercise intolerance
- Heart palpitations
- Leg Swelling
- Shortness of breath
If your regular doctor is not available or it is outside of regular office hours, PrimeCare Urgent Care is open seven days a week until 7 p.m. You do not need an appointment to come in for an immediate evaluation of symptoms.