February is American Heart Month
Heart health is an area of grave concern among healthcare professionals, policy makers and the government. Heart disease has killed more Americans than any other diseases or chronic illnesses. It is the leading cause of death among patience of all race, gender and age. About 785,000 patients in the nation suffer their first heart attack every year and 470,000 of them have recurring heart attacks in a year. It has been estimated that heart attack affects one patient in every 34 seconds in America, costing a whopping healthcare bill of $316.4 billion a year. The risks of heart disease also dramatically increases with age affecting one in every five women above the age of 65 as compared to one in every 10 women between ages 45 and 65.
For 37 years, the American Heart Association tirelessly organized and campaigned for the fight against heart disease. February is the ‘American Heart Month’ where efforts are spent to increase awareness and raise funds for research and education on heart disease.
Heart disease is a lifestyle-related condition. Risk factors that can lead to heart disease or stroke are physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes and alcohol. As more elderly patients tend to have high cholesterol, high blood sugar or high blood pressure conditions coupled by weaker immunity systems, healthy living to promote elderly health is one of the primary concerns during American Heart Month.
Good heart health can be attained by adopting change in lifestyle, diet and regular monitoring of one’s blood sugar level, cholesterol level and blood pressure. The following are five healthy living tips to good senior health that not only help keep heart disease at arm’s length but also increase one’s quality of life.
Regular Exercise or Physical Activity
Moderate exercise on a regular basis is the best remedy for elderly health and wellbeing. Walking, jogging, yoga, swimming, golf, dancing and others help to build strong healthy hearts and help to improve blood circulation. In fact, statistics show that a sedentary lifestyle is a leading threat to heart health; those who are physically inactive and seldom participate in regular exercise program are 39.5 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease or stroke.
Healthy living starts with balanced diets rich in fiber and low in trans fat, sugar and sodium. Elderly patients should also consume high nutrient foods that are good for the heart and body as a whole. Greasy food and food high in trans fat found in cooking oil and meat should be avoided to prevent gradual formation of blockage in the arteries especially among elderly patients’ whose body metabolism decreases with age.
Control blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar level
Senior health checks should never exclude regular monitoring of seniors’ blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar level as these are among the top risk factors to cardiovascular disease. Senior patients can perform regular monitoring of their conditions at home and take precautionary measures such as diet and prescribed medication if levels are higher than normal.
Maintain Healthy Body Weight
Being overweight can also lead to heart disease or stroke; it is as unhealthy to one’s heart as it is to one’s bones and joints. Excessive fats in the body can strain the heart and cause additional stress on the bones and joints. Maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial to good senior health as it helps to prevent adverse conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol that can potentially lead of heart disease.
Stop Smoking and excessive Alcohol intake
Smoking and excessive intake of alcohol are harmful habits that are especially damaging to elderly patients. Smoking increases the chances of blood clot and accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries, hence increasing the risks of coronary heart disease. It can also increase the chances of a relapse or recurring heart attack. Smoking is also linked to many elderly health conditions such as cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.
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