Heart disease is the top medical condition affecting aging adults, according to the American College of Cardiology. It’s also the leading cause of death for seniors and a frequent reason for hospital visits and stays for individuals 65 and older. These are just some of the more compelling reasons lowering heart disease risk should be a priority for older adults. Below, you’ll find five tips to recommend to your older loved one to help him or her enjoy a healthier heart.
1. Get ActiveA sedentary lifestyle is one of the top contributing factors to heart disease. Not surprisingly, one of the best ways to reduce this risk is to find ways to remain active. Forms of exercise and activity such as walking, gardening, doing yoga, participating in a favorite sport, engaging in water aerobics, swimming, or cycling can boost heart health by:
- Keeping weight in check
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing stress
- Increasing circulation
2. Eat a Balanced DietAdopting a “heart-healthy” diet doesn’t mean aging adults can’t still enjoy some of their favorite foods in moderation. But it does mean making an effort to avoid trans fats, sugary snacks and beverages, salty foods, and processed meats. Instead, seniors will be better off with a balanced diet that includes fruits and veggies, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and other sources of protein, whole grains, and plenty of water.
3. Ditch the Smoking HabitOlder adults who smoke likely developed this habit earlier in life. However, it can contribute to potentially serious heart problems for seniors because of plaque buildup in the coronary arteries, a condition referred to as ischemic heart disease. If your loved one has tried several times to kick this habit without success, talk to his or her doctor for recommendations. With a sensible cessation plan and some encouragement from family members and friends, your loved one should be able to successfully ditch this habit.
4. Reduce Excess WeightAccording to the National Institutes of Health, having too much body weight alters the body’s composition. In turn, this affects the structure of the heart, which increases the odds of developing heart disease. Eating a balanced diet is a good way for aging adults to start losing weight, but it’s just as important to get regular exercise to burn more calories. However, it’s best for older adults to avoid fad diets. Weight that regularly fluctuates up and down can place too much strain on the heart as well, so it’s better for seniors to lose weight gradually and make the lifestyle changes necessary to keep it off. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
5. Manage Chronic Conditions BetterAging adults are more likely to have issues with heart disease if they have chronic conditions that aren’t managed well, because certain long-term health issues create conditions within the body that affect blood flow and make the heart work harder. Chronic conditions that tend to affect the heart the most include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Chronic high blood pressure
- Chronic or uncontrolled high blood cholesterol