Heart health is full-body health. Without your heart effectively circulating blood throughout your body, full-body health isn’t even a consideration. It’s important to keep your heart in great shape, especially as you begin to age.
Keeping your heart healthy as an older person can be a delicate balance between self-care and staying active. By using these five simple and easy-to-follow tips, you can stay on top of heart disease risk factors to keep your heart and cardiovascular system healthy for years to come.
1. Stay Active
Exercising is crucial to your heart’s health, but as you get older, what that exercise looks like may change. Like any other muscle, you want your heart to remain strong, active, and functional without overexerting or damaging it. Taking a brisk walk or jog or signing up for a yoga or Pilates class are ways to stay active without wearing yourself out.
2. Eat Smart
Your blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride levels, sodium intake, and weight are all major factors in your risk for heart disease. What else do they have in common? They can all be drastically improved by being more thoughtful about the foods you put into your body.
Eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help. On the flip side, excessive amounts of sodium and sugar should be avoided. Stick to foods that are low in cholesterol and trans fats. Cholesterol can clog arteries, raising your risk of heart attacks and other coronary issues.
Avoiding things like alcohol, caffeine, artificial flavors and dyes, and red meats can also help. It’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly, as a healthy and stable blood pressure, combined with a healthy weight, can be an easy indicator that your diet is working.
3. Understand What You Cannot Change
Not every risk factor for heart disease is within your control. Some of us are just naturally more predisposed to heart disease than others. Uncontrollable factors that might contribute to someone experiencing heart disease include:
- Age. Your risk of heart disease naturally increases as you get older, regardless of how well you prepare.
- Sex. Some heart disease risk factors are different between men and women. For women, estrogen may offer some natural protection against heart disease, but diabetes raises the risk of heart disease in women more significantly than it does in men.
- Race and ethnicity. Certain racial and cultural groups have higher risk factors for heart disease than others. African Americans are more likely to experience heart disease than white Americans, while Hispanic Americans are less likely. Rates among Asian groups vary.
- Family history. You may be at greater risk for heart disease if you have a family member who suffered from heart disease at an early age.
4. Make Healthy Choices
If you’re serious about your heart health, there are some simple lifestyle choices you can make for yourself. Stop drinking alcohol in excess and avoid using tobacco products, caffeine and stimulants.
5. Medicate Correctly
Sometimes changes in diet and exercise aren’t enough, and in these cases, medicines can be used as part of an overall plan to lower your blood pressure or reduce cholesterol.
Some medicines commonly prescribed for people at risk for heart disease include:
- Statins. These can lower LDL cholesterol (or “bad” cholesterol) levels by 20 to 60%.
- Aspirin. A common pain reliever that can also prevent blood clots. Clopidogrel or warfarin may be prescribed for the same purpose in patients who don’t respond to aspirin.
- Beta-blockers. These are often used when someone has suffered a heart attack.
- ACE inhibitors. This class of drugs can be used to treat heart failure and lower blood pressure.
- Low-serum Klotho protein. An emerging use for the powerful human anti-aging protein Klotho is being explored in its ability to prevent kidney neuropathy and heart disease.
There are simple and effective ways to keep your heart in great shape well into your golden years. To find out more about antiaging protein and emerging treatments to keep us healthier longer in the future, visit Klotho.com.