How to Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Much like arthritis and loss of hearing, many seniors assume heart disease is just another risk that comes along with getting older. While the threat of heart disease does increase as a person matures, it doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of old age. In fact, there are quite a few lifestyle changes aging adults can make that will help keep their hearts healthy for years to come.
What is heart disease?
Heart disease is a term given to a group of different medical conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart. With time, the heart naturally loses some ability to keep up with demand, and plaque can build up along the artery walls. This condition, which is the most common form of heart disease among seniors, is called coronary artery disease. And once you get it, you’ll always have it.
Am I at risk for heart disease?
Certain traits and habits can affect your risk for developing heart disease. These are called “risk factors,” and the likelihood that you’ll develop coronary artery disease increases with the number of risk factors you have. If you are a smoker or have high cholesterol, high triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure, you are at a greater risk for heart disease. Seniors who are overweight or obese, have an unhealthy diet, and suffer from stress are also at risk.
If you have any of these risk factors, don’t panic. These are all traits and habits you can change to keep your heart healthy and reduce your chances of developing heart disease.
How to reduce the risk of heart disease
- Quit smoking. This is easier said than done, but if you smoke it’s important to try to quit. Smoking puts you at greater risk for heart disease than other risk factors. If you’re having trouble, ask your doctor for information on products and therapies that can help.
- Improve your cholesterol levels. You are more likely to get heart disease if your total cholesterol level is over 200 and your triglyceride levels are over 150. To help lower your cholesterol, eat a healthy diet high in nutritious fruits and vegetables and low in salt, saturated fat, and refined sugar.
- Stay active. As we age, exercise can become more of a challenge. But that’s all the more reason to get up and move! Seniors with a Body Mass Index over 25 are considered overweight and have a greater risk for heart disease. Achieve a healthy weight by working your way up to 30 minutes of activity most days of the week.
- Minimize stress. A small amount of stress is inevitable, but too much stress can greatly contribute to your risk for heart disease. Lower your chances by finding healthy outlets to relieve stress such as yoga, knitting, listening to music, quiet mediation, or cuddling with your pet.
We can help
At Bella Vista Health Center, our extensive menu of services will help you succeed on your heart-healthy journey. All residents are provided nutritious meals, have access to on-site doctors and dieticians, can stay active with yoga classes, and relieve stress in our meditation center. We even host companion pet visits from the San Diego Humane Society and Love on a Leash to give residents the added health benefits of interacting with animals.
We have everything you need to be your healthiest and happiest at our five-star facility in Lemon Grove. Give us a call today to schedule your visit.