Older adult Americans have heard many recent warnings about the dangers they face: pandemics, environmental changes, toxic chemicals, and so on. While these may all be legitimate concerns, the greater reality is that the number one threat to all Americans’ health remains the same: heart disease.
September 29th is World Heart Health Day, a day for celebrating our well-being and focusing on the importance of caring for our hearts. As we reflect upon our nation’s true number one health concern, it’s sobering to contemplate the toll that heart disease takes upon our nation and our families every year:
- An American dies of heart disease every 36 seconds.
- Heart disease has no respect for gender, race, or ethnicity, as it is universally the leading cause of death across all groups of Americans.
- One of every four deaths in our nation is caused by heart disease.
- The cost of treating heart disease in our nation is more than $220 billion annually.
The most troubling aspect of this is that heart disease, to a great extent, is not only treatable but avoidable. Here are five tips that will lead to living with a healthy heart:
Pay Attention to the Scale
Our weight is not just a source of irritation or pride but also, as we grow older, an enormously important measure of our health. Sudden changes in weight, especially weight gain, can signal heart issues. Remember that being overweight can lead to heart troubles as well as diabetes and other conditions that also put stress on the heart.
Eat for Your Heart
It’s never too late in life to appreciate new culinary dishes or to try new vegetables. Learn to appreciate the “fruit and vegetable rainbow”: green, red, orange, and yellow foods just waiting for you to give them a try. If you like bread and pasta, go with whole grain and incorporate more protein from fish.
How Are You Sleeping?
As we age, loud snoring, especially when breathing briefly stops, becomes more of a warning sign of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea correlates closely to several serious health concerns, including heart failure, strokes, and arrhythmias. Seeking treatment helps everybody sleep a little easier.
Get Your Body Moving
Perhaps the word “exercise” itself makes you groan and ache. It’s time to recognize an astonishing number of highly functional, low impact, incredibly enjoyable exercise programs designed specifically for older adults. Check out 7 Exercises for an Aging Body for some enjoyable low impact exercises to make your heart pump a little stronger.
Keep an Eye on Your Numbers
Every time you visit your health care provider, they take a set of numbers: blood pressure, oxygen saturation, cholesterol, blood glucose, and so on. Providers go out of their way these days to share these numbers with you. Watch for trends, and don’t hesitate to ask your provider what each number means for your heart.
Taking care of our hearts has the potential to add years to our lives. As the saying goes, having a healthy heart means we’ll have a lot of life to add to those extra years.
Home health and in-home caregivers can help keep you engaged with your health to enjoy a higher quality of life. Assisted is here to help, to learn how our team of skilled healthcare professionals can help you or a loved one, visit www.AssistedCares.com or call us today at 805-949-6555.