Heart disease has long been the #1 killer in this country, and a major cause of disability for men in particular. One in three men and one in 10 women develop the disease before the age of 60, according to an article by Today’s Geriatric Medicine, though the risk for women becomes equal to that of men after menopause. This risk increases as we age and the heart walls and arteries thicken and become stiff.
Despite this being such a prevalent health problem in America, most doctors focus on treatment after the fact rather than teaching patients a preventative approach. While you can’t change who your parents are, having a heart-healthy lifestyle can play a huge role in reducing the risk of heart disease in older men. Here a few surefire strategies to employ that will help keep this killer at bay.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Most people are very aware of the obesity epidemic in our country. Excess fat puts a strain on your body and causes nearly all of your organs to work harder. While many people have tried and succeeded in losing weight, keeping it off long-term is the real struggle. If you’re really committed to having a healthy heart, you need to do more than make a temporary change to your eating habits in order to achieve a weight-loss goal. Rather, your diet must undergo a permanent transformation. This includes increasing your intake of complex carbohydrates (fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, soy), limiting meat and dairy, and consuming moderate amounts of alcohol, fish and skinless chicken, and healthy fats like those found in extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.
- Remain active. Physical activity is essential for a strong heart. Don’t be scared off by the thought of exercise; older adults can still receive the benefits of exercise without doing anything too strenuous. What’s more important is to exercise regularly. Moderate exercise such as swimming, walking or gardening for 30 minutes five times a week is all that is necessary.
- Don’t stress. As people age, their situations naturally change. As loved ones die and children move away, it’s easy for older adults to become isolated and depressed. These changes can be extremely stressful, and high amounts of stress increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. A strong social support network can aid greatly in managing this stress and maintaining good physical, mental and emotional health. Further stress-management techniques include things as simple as deep breathing, stretching and meditation.
Learn More About Griswold Home Care
If you or a loved one are recovering from a heart attack or other cardiac episode and are seeking a home care agency or in-home assistance for the disabled, Griswold Home Care of Wheat Ridge would like to help. Our compassionate caregivers provide quality care and services that allow our clients to focus on improving their health. To find a caregiver near you, give us a call at (303) 622-5585.