Be Heart Friendly

Be Heart Friendly

Be Heart Friendly

People age 65 and older are much more likely than younger people to suffer a Heart Attack, to have a  Stroke, or to develop Coronary Heart Disease (commonly called heart disease) and the Heart Failure.

The most common aging change is increased stiffness of the large arteries, called arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. the arteries that become stiffer with thicker walls create a reduced ability to expand as blood pumps through the heart. High blood pressure can also occur, further increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. The heart walls thicken and stiffen, preventing the muscle from relaxing and filling adequately between beats. Thus, inefficient pumping during periods of exertion can contribute to fatigue and exercise intolerance

Heart disease is a killer among the aging population. But healthy lifestyle can provide the first line of defense against this debilitating disease.

Signs of Heart Disease

Early heart disease often doesn't have symptoms or the symptoms may be barely noticeable. That's why regular Check ups with your doctor are important.

Contact your doctor right away if you feel any chest pain, pressure, or discomfort. However, chest pain is a less common sign of heart disease as it progresses, so be aware of other symptoms. Tell your doctor, if you have:

  • Pain, numbness, and/or tingling in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back
  • Shortness of breath when active, at rest, or while lying flat
  • Chest pain during physical activity that gets better when you rest
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness 
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, stomach, and/or neck
  • Reduced ability to exercise or be physically active
  • Problems doing your normal activities

What Can I Do to Prevent Heart Disease?

There are many steps you can take to keep your heart healthy.

Try to be more Physically Active. Minimize the amount of inactivity, increase the general level of activity, and make exercise an integral part of daily life. Include at least 20 minutes of daily aerobic exercise.

Start by doing activities you enjoy—brisk walking, dancing, bowling, bicycling, or gardening, for example. Avoid spending hours every day sitting in front of your TV. 

If you smoke, quit. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Smoking adds to the damage to artery walls. It's never too late to get some benefit from Quitting Smoking. Quitting, even in later life, can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer over time.

Follow a heart-healthy diet. Choose foods that are low in trans and saturated fatsadded sugars, and salt. As we get older, we become more sensitive to salt, which can cause swelling in the legs and feet. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and foods high in fiber, like those made from whole grains.

Keep a healthy weight. Balancing the calories you eat and drink with the calories burned by being physically active helps to maintain a healthy weight. Some ways you can maintain a healthy weight include Limiting Portion size and being Physically active.

Keep your High blood sugar, High Blood Pressure and/or high cholesterol under control. Follow your doctor's advice to manage these conditions, and take medications as directed.

Limit Consumption of  Alcohol. Men should not have more than two drinks a day and women only one. One drink is equal to:

Manage stress. Practice daily stress management techniques, including stretching, relaxation, breathing, imagery, and meditation. Emphasis on your social connections and talk things out with friends or family.

 Source - National Institute On Aging