Any age is a good age to take care of your heart. Smart choices now can pay off for the rest of your life. There are some simple steps to keep your heart healthy during each decade of life.
· Choose a healthy eating plan. Choose food low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Limit sugar-sweetened beverages.
· Be physically active. Ideal exercise would be at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity and 15 minutes of vigorous activity per week, as well as two days with muscle-strengthening activities.
· Have regular wellness exams. Talk to your doctor about your diet, lifestyle, and check your blood pressure, BMI, and blood sugar.
· Be physically active. Be active and stay active. Keep your workout routine interesting by mixing it up.
· Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Non-smokers are 30% more likely to develop heart disease or lung cancer from secondhand smoke.
· Incorporate healthy living into your family. Spend less time on the couch and more time on the move. Your children will learn good habits by your example.
· Know your family history. If you have a parent or sibling with heart disease, you have an increased risk. Control the risk factors you can by maintaining healthy weight, exercising, not smoking, and eating right.
· Learn stress management techniques. Long term stress increases heart rate and blood pressure, damaging the artery walls.
· Watch your weight. Your metabolism starts to slow down, so avoid weight gain by eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise.
· Have your blood sugar checked. Have a fasting blood glucose test by the time you are 45.
· Don’t ignore snoring. One in five adults has mild sleep apnea, pauses in breathing during sleep. This condition can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
· Eat a healthy diet. Refresh good eating habits that you may have slipped out of, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.
· Learn warning signs of heart attack and stroke. Not everyone has sudden numbness with stroke or chest pain with a heart attack. Symptoms in women can be different than in men.
· Follow prescribed treatment plan. If you have high blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes, lower your risk of heart disease by taking proper medications and lifestyle/diet changes.
· Have an ankle-brachial index test. This should be done every 1-2 years at your annual physical. It helps diagnose peripheral artery disease, where plaque builds up in the leg arteries.
· Watch your weight. Excess weight makes your heart work harder and increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Exercise regularly and eat smaller portions of healthy food.
· Learn warning signs of heart attack and stroke. Knowing when you’re having a heart attack or stroke means you can get faster help. Quick treatment can save your life.
“Preventing Heart Disease – At Any Age.” Getting Healthy. American Heart Association, 28 Jan 2015. Web. 5 Feb 2015.