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!