What does it mean to live a “heart-healthy” life? According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), “heart disease is a catch-all term used to define conditions that affect one’s heart, blood vessels and arteries.” Among the conditions classified under the heart disease include: coronary heart disease, peripheral artery disease, heart defects and stroke.
Although one can experience heart disease at any age, seniors may be more susceptible due to changes in their body and muscles. However, there are many ways that you can reduce your risk of heart disease and live a more heart-healthy way of life. Here are some tips.
What Causes Heart Disease?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease.” High blood pressure thins your artery’s lining which makes it susceptible to plaque buildup, reducing oxygen flow to the heart. Less oxygen results in a heart attack or heart disease.
Additional causes of heart disease include high cholesterol and obesity. The Mayo Clinic explains “[When you have] high cholesterol, [it] can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels […] making it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries.” Decreased blood flow may lead to stroke, heart attack and other heart-related issues.
5 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
The good news about heart disease is that there are easy ways to prevent or at least minimize your risk.
Limit Your Stress
When one experiences moderate to extreme emotional, physical or physiological strain, this is defined as stress. Stress can affect one’s body in different ways. The American Heart Association explains, “stress may lead to high blood pressure, which can pose a risk for heart attack” and can also lead to heart disease.
Fortunately, you can take steps to manage your stress so it does not negatively impact your body. Try the following activities to reduce your stress:
- Spend quality time with friends and family
- Engage in physical activity you enjoy
- Enjoy a hobby
- Delegate stressful responsibilities to a trusted individual
Exercise and Eat Healthy Meals*
Being physically active not only helps lower your stress levels, it can strengthen your heart, lower your blood pressure and help you maintain a healthy body weight. However, if the thought of exercising bores you, have your neighbors and friends join you in the goal to be healthy.
Eating food that nourishes your body can also help lower your risk of experiencing heart disease. Currently, the American diet is very saturated with high-sodium and fatty foods. Too much sodium in your diet can lead to high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Consider following a plant-based diet or the popular Mediterranean diet. Both diets emphasize eating vegetables, fruits and nuts. They limit meat and other potentially high-sodium foods.
*Disclaimer: Always be sure to consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or activity routines.
Get Plenty of Rest
Not getting enough sleep, may mean you won’t be at your physical or mental best. What does less sleep mean for your heart? Higher blood pressure and a higher risk of heart disease. The CDC offers the following tips to improve your sleep:
- Go to bed at the same time each night. Get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends
- Create the ideal sleep environment in your bedroom. Your room should be quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature.
- Avoid watching TV or staring at computer screens or smart phones before bedtime.
- Exercise during the day.
- Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol before bedtime.
Get Consistent Health Screenings
As you work on incorporating these steps into your daily lifestyle, don’t forget to be consistent with your doctor appointments too. Regular health screenings will help you understand your current health status, potential risk factors for heart disease and if your efforts are helping reduce your chances of experiencing it.
Focus On Your Health at Abbey Delray South
Want to make your health a priority? Try the Abbey Delray South lifestyle. With our customized wellness plans, residents can curate a retirement that not only prioritizes their heart health, but also helps their emotional well-being. It’s easy to keep stress at bay at leisurely Abbey Delray South. While you lounge by the pool or stroll through our Butterfly Garden, we take care of cleaning your residence (and so much more!). When you move to Abbey Delray South, you leave your worries and responsibilities behind… and gain more time to focus on your health and hobbies.
Learn more about the Abbey Delray South when you contact us or complete the form below.