Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. And, as we age, our risk of heart disease increases. In fact, half of all Americans with cardiovascular disease are age 60 or older. Fortunately, building heart-healthy habits for Senior Citizens helps lower that risk.
Maintaining a good diet and exercise habits helps reduce the risk of heart disease. According to the CDC, risk factors for cardiovascular illness include high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, diabetes, and obesity. Lifestyle choices also contribute to heart health. For example, eating too much saturated fat and not getting enough physical activity increases your risk. Likewise, too much tobacco and alcohol use can contribute to heart problems. Older adults who are considered an increased risk should monitor their cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight.
What are the signs of poor heart health?
Poor heart health affects the blood vessels throughout the entire body. Reduced blood flow can lead to chest pain and shortness of breath. Seek medical care if you regularly experience these symptoms:
Pounding or fluttering heart
Shortness of breath
Numbness of the limbs
3 Heart Healthy Habits for Senior Citizens
People over 65 are particularly susceptible to heart disease. Building healthy habits helps lower the risk of heart disease for older adults. Exercise, diet, and lifestyle change can be powerful ways to protect your heart.
Exercise is an excellent way for Senior Citizens to improve heart health. Physical activity gets the blood pumping. With enhanced circulation comes lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Simply taking a daily walk is an excellent first step in building heart-healthy habits for Senior Citizens. The CDC suggests older adults need at least:
- 2.5 hours of moderate activity throughout the week
- Strengthening exercises 2 days per week
- Balance activities 3 days per week
A heart-healthy diet includes foods rich in fiber such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish like salmon and tuna are also good for the heart. Avoid foods high in saturated and trans fats and cut out excess salt and sugar. For example, the American Heart Association recommends a Mediterranean Diet. Try some of these heart-healthy recipes.
- Strawberry Spinach Chicken Salad
- Banana Split Oatmeal
- Healthy Asparagus Sauté
- Tabouli Salad
- Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup
- Easy Salmon Bake
The best thing a smoker can do to protect their heart is quit smoking. Chemicals in tobacco smoke increase plaque buildup in arteries and can cause blood clots inside the veins. Likewise, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure or heart failure. While one glass of red wine a night may have heart benefits, heavy drinking is harmful in the long term. So, if you choose to drink, do so in moderation.
In-Home Elder Care
At Anita’s Angels, Inc., we are here to assist your loved ones with heart-healthy habits. Our caring CHHHAs help cook healthy meals, assist with exercises and help provide transportation for doctor visits to help keep them safe and healthy at home. We are Families Helping Families. Let’s talk about how our family can help yours — call 908-788-9390.