Heart health for senior adults is an important topic, as heart disease and related conditions are significant threats to their health. Though heart disease risks increase with age, it doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of getting older. The right lifestyle habits, a heart-healthy diet, and more can help protect seniors.
Those who are 65 years of age and older are much more likely to suffer a heart attack, have a stroke, develop coronary heart disease (commonly called heart disease), and experience heart failure. Heart disease is also a major cause of disability, limiting activity and reducing quality of life.
All of this can happen because aging causes changes in the heart and blood vessels. As we get older, our hearts can’t beat as fast during physical activity or in times of stress. A major cause of heart disease is the build-up of fatty deposits in the walls of arteries over many years. But the most common change due to aging is increased stiffness or hardening of the large arteries. This issue causes high blood pressure, which becomes more common as we age as well.
While all of these changes are common, they can be prevented or improved by focusing on heart health in a variety of ways.
For senior adults, it’s a good idea to get exercises cleared by a doctor or physical therapist. Around 30 minutes of activity each day is beneficial, and the best results will come with consistency. Any movement counts, such as walking, doing chores, gardening, and more. Having a goal to get up and move around for a few minutes each hour works well, and in general, seniors should avoid sitting for hours at a time.
According to the CDC, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Smoking adds to damage that may already exist in artery walls due to aging. For senior adults, it’s never too late to get some benefit from quitting smoking. Even later in life, quitting can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Look for foods that are low in trans and saturated fats, added sugars, and salt. Instead, senior adults should focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and foods high in fiber. A healthy diet will also help seniors maintain a healthy weight, which will benefit the heart and overall health.
Heart health can be related to many other conditions. It’s crucial for those who have diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol to keep those conditions managed well. Follow doctor’s advice, and take medications as directed.
With aging, it’s important to check blood pressure regularly, even for those who are healthy. It’s possible to feel fine with high blood pressure, but it can lead to stroke and problems with the heart, eyes, brain, and kidneys if not treated. Many of the suggestions to improve heart health will also improve high blood pressure.
Stress can negatively impact many aspects of physical and emotional health for senior adults. Seniors should learn methods to manage stress and relax, but this may look different for each person. Therapy, regular talks with loved ones, physical activity, reading, meditation, and spending time outdoors are examples of things that often work well.
All of these healthy lifestyle habits should be a priority year-round, and heart health is always a focus at our USA Healthcare facilities. Your loved ones are like family to us, and we treat each individual as though they are one of our own.
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