Maintaining Heart Health for Seniors
Did you know that as you age, your heart changes? Older adults are at increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes, making taking care of your heart even more important. Years of use and activities that impact the heart can cause clogging or hardening of arteries and stiffening of blood vessels. This means that the heart has to work even harder to pump as effectively as it used to.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to boost your heart health and reduce your risk of heart-related problems.
Keep Blood Pressure in Check
Your doctor checks your blood pressure, but this is also something you can regularly do at home as well. Take note of any changes such as unusual spikes or dips. High blood pressure puts additional strain on your arteries in addition to other organs. You may notice changes in your vision, cognitive abilities, or kidney function. Medication can be an effective way of managing blood pressure, but making positive changes to your diet and exercise can help as well.
Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
Aim to reduce your sodium intake by choosing low-sodium foods and incorporating more fresh produce, whole grains, and lean meats as opposed to highly processed foods. Doing meal prep and freezing single serving portions can make it easier to have healthy meal options ready to go. Instead of adding salt to punch up flavor, try a variety of fresh herbs and spices.
Cut down on saturated fats by choosing low-fat or fat-free dairy products and lean cuts of meat. Increasing fiber intake can be beneficial by eating whole grains, oatmeal, beans, nuts, and fruits such as apples and berries. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water as well.
Schedule regular exercise into your day, such as daily walks or jogs, biking, swimming, yoga, tennis, pickleball, dance, or other activities you enjoy. Set a reminder on your phone to take regular breaks to get up and move if you find yourself sitting for long periods of time. Exercise can be more fun with a friend, so buddy up to keep one another accountable and try new activities.
Reduce Your Stress
It should come as no surprise that stress can put additional strain on your heart. Explore different strategies for stress management to find what works best for you. That could include things such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, Reiki, journaling, talking with a friend, or listening to music. Clear your mind, slow your breathing, and reduce built-up tension.
Not only is smoking bad for your lungs, it can be damaging to your heart. It is never too late to quit. Studies have shown that the health benefits can be almost immediate and quitting smoking can reduce your blood pressure and heart rate, improve breathing, and lower risk of a heart attack or stroke. Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation options to create a plan you can stick with.
Make the most of your senior years by taking care of your health, including protecting your heart. Partnering with an in-home caregiver can give you the support you need to plan and prepare healthy meals, stay active, remember to take medications on time, and create a safer, more comfortable living environment as you age in place.
Contact Always Best Care at (855) 470-2273 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about available services and supports. We work with you to create a plan that fits your needs and goals.