Senior Connection

Mar 7, 2014

Can you feel my heartbeat? -Part 2
By Andrea Erickson

How can you reduce your risk of developing heart disease?

This is a common question among Seniors and Elders alike. But, the answer applies to humans of every age. Start young – keep your organs healthy and working. But, since aging is an ongoing process, here is a list of recommendations you can use to cope, or reduce your risk of encountering heart disease in your lifetime: Share this with your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. You could help to save a life by simply sharing information.

  • Exercise 3-4 times per week for 20-30 minutes.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight for your height and age.
  • Breathe! Get oxygen into your bloodstream.

Reduce and/or eliminate bad health habits
  • Do not smoke, or stop smoking if you smoke.
  • Reduce alcohol intake (no more than two drinks per day – 5 oz. glass of wine, 12 oz. beer, or 1.5 oz spirits) and avoid recreational drugs. You may have been a child of the 60’s, but respect your body’s elegance as you age.

  • Reduce stress in your life (identify outlets to relieve stress such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing), and learn to accept events that you cannot control.
  • Live in the present moment – stop and look around you and be amazed by the sunset or sunrise, the stillness of a lake, the rhythms of the sea, the sounds of nature, the characters in the clouds.
  • Rest and sleep. Give your body time to recover from stressful events.

Manage your time
  • Time Management is critical to living life in this fast-paced world we live in! Schedule events and dates. Give yourself time to get things done. Enjoy your big and small life events.
  • Schedule fun, but keep your life open to unexpected happenings.
  • Stay true to your commitments, but understand that sometimes commitments can be delayed or postponed.

Enjoy your culinary appetites
  • Eat nutrient-rich foods that are familiar, easy to find, and represent the five basic food groups (provide the most nutrients per calorie): grain, fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and protein, fats, oils and sweets.
  • Eat plenty of fatty fish (salmon, trout, or other oily fish).
  • Replace butter with a healthy spread such as Promise, Smart Balance, or other that contains healthy fats and plant sterols.
  • Avoid high fat dairy and meats (stick with lean meats, such as loin, skinless chicken breasts).
  • Read nutrition labels.

Stay current with Health Checks
  • Keep your blood cholesterol at or under 300 milligrams per day.
  • Reduce high blood pressure (anything over 140/80 mmHg is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease.
  •  Keep diabetes under control.
  • Take doctor-prescribed medication to treat angina (chest pain), if needed.
  • Get regular checkups for health conditions that may affect the heart, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
  • Remember to keep your pulse on your emotional health
  • Have a support group of friends and family to share your life’s moments.
  • Embrace hobbies that add fun to your life! Read, garden, walk, bike, jog, etc.
  • Keep a positive attitude – smile, pray, love, and laugh!

So, let me feel your heartbeat! This is your life. Feel better, be happy, and live a wonderful life!



To Enhance The Quality Of Life For Area Seniors And Their Caregivers, The Central Massachusetts Agency On Aging Will Provide Leadership, Information And Resources, Coordination Of Services And Advocacy.