You may know that cardiovascular disease is on the rise in the United States, but did you know it’s the number one cause of death of individuals of either gender? These statistics are sobering, but the good news is, there are a number of heart-healthy tips for seniors that can help your loved ones mitigate their risk for cardiovascular disease.
“Heart disease” is an umbrella term that covers a variety of conditions, but most often refers to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. In this condition, plaque builds up in either the coronary arteries or the peripheral arteries. This buildup can lead to a variety of medical complications, including stroke or heart attack. Fortunately, there are a number of risk factors you can reduce in order to help prevent heart disease.
- Obesity: Individuals with a BMI above 30 are at a higher risk of heart disease. By encouraging your loved ones to make lifestyle changes to their diet and exercise routine, you can help them keep their weight in a healthy range while also limiting their risk of heart disease.
- Diabetes: Managing diabetes in the most health-conscious way possible is another way to reduce the risk of heart disease. Diabetes can lead to the same plaque buildup in the arteries that leads to stroke and heart failure.
- Alcohol consumption: Drinking too much alcohol is unilaterally bad for the body, but it can also contribute to heart disease. Drinking in excess, generally considered to be three or more drinks in one day, can lead to high blood pressure the following day, which increases an individual’s risk of heart disease.
- High cholesterol and high blood pressure: Both of these cardiovascular issues can contribute to heart disease. High cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in arteries, and hypertension (high blood pressure) is a strong contributing factor to heart disease.
In addition to reducing risk factors, there are four heart-healthy tips for seniors you can suggest a loved one incorporate into his or her life to help prevent heart disease.
- Nutrition: Diet makes a huge difference when it comes to preventing heart attack and stroke. A balanced diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats is a tried and true method to prevent plaque buildup. Talk to your loved ones about favorite healthy meals you can make together, or suggest that they incorporate more whole foods into their diet. Additionally, you can call on the home care experts at Aware Senior Care to prepare nutritious heart-healthy meals for your loved one.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can lead to weight stability and lower blood pressure, which both help prevent heart disease. Doctors recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, whether that activity is staggered over the week or incorporated into just a few days. A professional in-home caregiver, such as Aware Senior Care provides, can encourage and assist with a physician-approved exercise regimen.
- Quitting smoking: Smoking drastically increases an individuals’ risk of heart disease. If your loved one is a smoker who is considering quitting, do everything you can to support him or her on that journey. The longer a person smokes, the higher the risk for heart attack is, but the health benefits of quitting kick in within just months of giving up cigarettes.
- Medication: In addition to the variety of lifestyle changes you can encourage loved ones to make in order to lower their risk of heart disease, medication can be a huge help. Talking to a doctor about the possible need for heart medication is a good idea for older individuals, especially if they have a family history of heart disease.
To learn more heart-healthy tips for seniors or to connect with a compassionate caregiver who can support your loved one’s health and wellness, contact the home care experts at Aware Senior Care. Simply contact us online or give us a call at (919) 436-1871 to learn more about senior care in Raleigh and the surrounding areas.