Heart Healthy Tips for Seniors in Honor of American Heart Month
February isn’t just about Valentine’s Day, it’s American Heart Month! In the spirit of self-love and care, Fellowship Square offers seniors heart-healthy tips.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Heart Month is “a time when all people can focus on cardiovascular health.” This year in particular, the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention “is shining a light on hypertension (high blood pressure), a leading risk factor for disease and stroke.”
There are multiple contributors that can increase one’s risk for heart disease including health conditions, lifestyle, age, and family history. The CDC states that “about half of all Americans (47 percent) have at least 1 of 3 key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.” Heart disease is actually the No. 1 killer of men and women, and it can occur at any age. However, risk increases with age.
Seniors can help protect the health of their heart and prevent heart disease through certain lifestyle choices and changes. Certain behaviors and health conditions can increase the risk of heart disease including:
• Eating a diet high in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol; too much salt can also be attributed to a rise in one’s blood pressure
• Not getting enough physical activity, which can also increase the risk of other medical conditions including obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes
• Excessive alcohol use
• Tobacco use
• High blood pressure and unhealthy blood cholesterol levels
The CDC states that by living a healthy lifestyle, “you can help keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels normal and lower your risk for heart disease and heart attack.” The organization suggests the following heart-healthy behaviors:
• Eating foods high in fiber and low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol
• Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and less processed foods
• Limiting salt intake
• Limiting alcohol intake. It is suggested that men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women no more than one drink per day.
• Maintaining a healthy weight, as people that are overweight or obese have higher risk for heart disease, and “carrying extra weight can put extra stress on the heart and blood vessels” according to the site.
• Get regular routine physical activity. “For adults, the Surgeon General recommends two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or bicycling, every week.”
• Don’t smoke. For those that need help quitting, seek a doctor’s help for resources.
In honor of American Heart Month, Fellowship Square encourages seniors to show their hearts a little love through habits and lifestyle changes that can help them prolong their lives and keep their hearts healthy and happy!