Heart-healthy Habits for Seniors

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By Diana Rodriguez

Heart disease is a major threat to senior health – in fact, 84 percent of people age 65 years and older die from heart disease.  Though heart disease risks increase with age, it doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of getting older.  The right lifestyle habits and a heart-healthy diet can help protect you.

What exactly is heart disease?  It’s a term given to a group of different health conditions that affect the heart.  In the United States, the most common form of heart disease is called coronary artery disease (CAD).  CAD is often responsible for serious cardiovascular events like a heart attack, heart failure, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat, also call arrhythmia.

know the symptoms of heart disease

The warning signs of heart disease often don’t appear until you’re having a heart attack.  Symptoms of an emergency or impending heart attack may include:

   * Feeling faint

   * Weakness or a sensation of light-headedness

   * Having a hard time catching your breath

   * Feeling nauseous or vomiting

   * Feeling very full or having indigestion

   * Pain in the chest or an uncomfortable pressure in the chest

   * Unusual pains in the back, shoulders, or neck

   * Sweating

   * An irregular heartbeat


Many health conditions can contribute to heart disease and increase your risk of having a heart attack.  Heart disease treatment and heart attack prevention requires that you treat all other contributing health problems and keep them under control.  To treat heart disease you should:

Lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels

Keep diabetes under control

Take medication to treat angina (chest pain)

There are medications that can help treat the various aspects of heart disease.  To manage chest pain, nitrates, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers may be recommended.  Your doctor may also suggest taking a daily aspirin to help reduce the risk of a heart attack.


You can keep your heart healthy no matter how old you are, but it does take effort – possibly even changes in your everyday habits, such as eating a heart-healthy diet and increasing your activity level.  Here’s how to get started:


   * Get enough exercise.  This means at least 30 minutes of exercise almost

     every day of the week                      

   * Quit smoking.  If you do smoke, it’s time to quit.

   * Eat a heart-healthy diet.  Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables while

     limiting saturated fats, salt, and foods containing cholesterol, like fatty


* Watch your numbers.  Get regular check-ups to monitor health conditions

  that affect the heart, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, 

  and diabetes, and make sure they’re under control with medication

* Reduce your alcohol intake.  Excess alcohol consumption can worsen health

     conditions that contribute to heart disease, like blood pressure,

  arrhythmias, and high cholesterol levels

   * Minimize stress in your life.  Stress can compound many heart disease risks

  that seniors already face, steering you toward an unhealthy lifestyle. 

  Find healthy outlets to relieve stress and lower your heart disease risk

* Watch your weight.  Too many pounds can add up to increased heart disease

  risk.  To help prevent heart disease, maintain a healthy body weight for

  your size

Working with your doctor can help keep health problems under control.  It’s never too late to start living a healthy lifestyle and getting your heart disease risks in check.

COMMUNITY HOME CARE is a family owned and operated health care agency.  Contact us for a complimentary in-home assessment to help determine the best care for your loved one.  We offer a wide range of services customized to meet each client’s needs.  communityhomecarenorwell@gmail.com or 781-569-4970