Despite increases in medical technology and increased pushes for healthy lifestyles, heart disease remains the #1 killer in the United States, killing one American every 40 seconds. However, this condition is not something you should only focus on as you get older – you need to think about it at every stage of your life. As Jorge Gonzalez, MD explains:
“While heart disease is most prevalent in people aged 60 and older, it can begin to develop much earlier in life. Cardiovascular disease affects more than 35 percent of people aged 39 and older, and more than 10 percent of those aged 20 to 39. That’s why it is so important to live a heart-healthy lifestyle at every age.”
Here we offer you our tips for being heart-healthy at all ages.
20s to 30s
Yearly health exams and screenings are a good idea when you’re young, and it’s also a good idea to know what diseases or ailments run in your family and what you’re at risk for in the future. If you’re a smoker, do yourself a favor and quit now, as this is the single best thing you can do for your health going forward. You should also aim to establish a regular gym routine, as building your strength and cardiovascular activity now will make it easier to continue as you age. During this period of your life, you may undergo a whirlwind of stressful changes, so it’s a good time to find some stress management techniques which work for you, such as meditation and breathing control.
40s to 50s
Try your best to maintain a gym routine which keeps your cardiovascular workouts and strength training up. Although exercise can seem like less of a necessity as you have more and more responsibilities, you cannot be expected to fulfill your responsibilities if you’re not fit and well! If you’re a woman going through menopause, this can affect your heart health due to hormonal changes, and this is a good time to consult your physician. At this age, it’s more important than ever to attend yearly wellness exams and checkups, even if you feel fine. You could feel fine and still develop serious illnesses or heart problems which get out of hand before they are identified! Be sure to know the warning signs of heart attacks and strokes.
60s and older
It may be worth speaking to your doctor about an ankle-brachial index test. This is a test which measures pulses in your feet, thereby helping to diagnose peripheral artery disease (PAD), a form of cardiovascular disease which manifests as plaque build-up in the legs. At this age, you should also eat a healthier diet than ever, as your metabolism will have greatly slowed down. Be sure to continue exercising as you age, even if it’s just going for brisk walks. Contrary to popular belief, avoiding exercise will only make you age and wear out even more quickly. Swimming is a good method of exercise if your joints aren’t quite what they used to be!
General tips at all ages
Heart-healthy diets are high in proteins, fruits, and veggies while being low on saturated fats. Furthermore, complex carbohydrates such as bread, legumes, rice, and pasta are conducive to good heart health. You should also aim to exercise regularly in order to keep your cardiovascular system strong, remain a healthy weight, and keep unhealthy cholesterol/blood pressure levels at bay. Finally, quit smoking. It’s the single best thing you can do for your health, period.
Minimizing your risk of heart disease is one of the easiest ways to prolong your life and ensure good health. Speak to a member of our team today if you’re worried about your heart health.