Heart disease risks are not an inevitable part of aging and there are plenty of ways to stay heart-healthy as a senior. Keeping your heart healthy as a senior is extremely important as studies show that 84% of people ages 65+ die of heart disease. You can avoid being part of that statistic by engaging in certain lifestyle habits and eating a heart healthy diet. That being said, you should check to ensure that any lifestyle changes are approved by your qualified healthcare provider.
Understanding Heart Disease
Before you can effectively protect yourself against heart disease, it’s vital to understand what it is. Heart disease is the term for a selection of health conditions affecting the heart with the most common form in the U.S. being coronary artery disease or CAD. CAD can lead to heart attacks, chest pain, irregular heartbeat and heart failure. Although there are known symptoms of heart disease, the warning signs may not appear until an actual heart attack. Signs of a possible heart attack can include:
- Light-headedness or weakness
- Difficulty catching breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Indigestion or feeling overly full
- Chest pain or pressure
- Pain in the neck, shoulders or back
- Irregular heartbeat
If you experience any of these symptoms, you need to contact medical assistance immediately.
Reducing the Risks of Heart Disease
Existing health conditions can increase your risk of heart disease and a heart attack so you need to treat all of your medical issues seriously and control them as directed by your doctor. To prevent a heart attack and lower the complications of heart disease you need to keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels low, control diabetes if you have it and take all the proper medications.
Preventing Heart Disease
To keep your heart healthy whatever your age, you need to commit yourself to positive habits every day such as eating a heart-healthy diet and discuss these potentially positive lifestyle changes with your qualified healthcare provider. Additional ways to prevent heart disease include:
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day 5-7 times a week or as often as your doctor recommends
- Stop using tobacco of any kind
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and lower intake of salt, saturated fat and high-cholesterol food as long as this is inline with advice given by your healthcare provider.
- Receive regular medical exams to monitor and control any health conditions
- Lower alcohol intake as it can worsen conditions that lead to heart disease
- Lower stress levels
- Maintain a healthy body weight for your age and height, following your doctor's guidelines.
Living in a retirement community gives you unlimited access to fitness activities such as swimming, exercise rooms and walks around the grounds and the low-maintenance living enables you to live stress-free and happy.