We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; heart disease is one of the top killers of people around the U.S.and the world. Combined with strokes, more than 17 million people die of heart disease each year. People of all ages need to be aware of lifestyle factors that can reduce both heart disease and risk of stroke.
Although heart disease does not discriminate by age or gender, the higher the age, the higher the risk. The chances of a stroke double after the age of 55, and cholesterol levels peak at 60. Blood pressure and diabetes both increase the risk of a heart attack. Here are five tips to help reduce heart disease and stroke risks.
People hear it all their lives, but it’s important to stay active. Living a life inside the home and never getting out the door can lead to depression and obesity. Seniors don’t have to train for a triathalon or go to the gym to start benchpressing. Rather, taking a walk for 30 minutes each day can improve blood flow, keep weight in check, and keep the heart strong.
The stigma around “eating healthy” makes people believe they have to give up the good stuff and stick to rigid diets. That’s not necessarily true. Seniors don’t have to ditch foods they love, but can instead introduce smarter options. A diet that includes fruits and vegetables, is lower in salty and fatty foods, and richer in vitamins and whole grains is best.
Another no-brainer. Easier said than done though, as any smoker will say. The thing about smoking is that not only is the smoker at risk, so are those living with a smoker. Smoking cigarettes actually doubles the risk of a heart attack. It may require a lot of encouragement to help someone quit, but it can be done. Speaking to a doctor for ways to help quit may be necessary.
Lower the stress!
Higher stress levels can lead to a variety of issues including depression, poor eating habits, and increased heart issues. By simply breathing deeply, meditating, or talking to a trusted friend or family member can help reduce stress greatly. Hobbies can also be therapeutic – gardening, reading, or learning a new language – there’s something for everyone! Particularly in the wintertime, keeping the mind active and focused will keep stress to a minimum.
See the doctor!
It’s a great idea for seniors to regularly keep in touch with their physician. Regular checkups will keep a senior and their doctor aware of what’s going on with their health. Any new symptoms will be caught, and potentially prevented in the future. Additionally, the doctor will provide instructions on what to do in order to stay as healthy as possible.