Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. This is why it is important to take care of your heart health and recognize the signs of heart disease.
The heart goes through significant changes as we grow older, increasing the importance of heart health as we age. Many people tend to ignore their heart health and signs of disease; however, there are ways to prevent heart disease from affecting you and the retirement life you want to live.
This February, Heart Health Month, HarborChase Senior Living is here to inform you of how your heart changes with age, ways to prevent heart disease, and some of the potential signs to look out for.
How Your Heart Changes with Age
There are many ways that your heart changes as you grow older. As you age, your heart is not able to beat as quickly or efficiently during strenuous exercise or in stressful situations as it once could.
Additionally, plaque and fatty deposits build up on the walls of the heart and arteries over the years. This leads to the hardening of the arteries or arteriosclerosis. If the arteries are blocked, your heart is unable to supply enough blood to the major organs in your body.
Because your heart is already not as efficient as it was when you were younger, the shrinking arteries put even more stress on your heart, leading to an increased risk of heart disease
Ways to Prevent Heart Disease
Luckily, there are ways that you can decrease your risk of heart disease.
Physical activity makes your heart work, having to pump extra blood throughout your body. This helps to strengthen and keep your heart strong.
Participate in activities that get your blood pumping and that you enjoy. Talk to your doctor about how much exercise you should be getting on a daily or weekly basis, and the type of exercise that is best for you.
Your diet plays a huge role in your overall heart health. Some foods can leave fatty deposits in your arteries, potentially clogging them. If you maintain healthy eating habits, your body can rid itself of current debris without adding to the problem.
A few heart-healthy diet tips include:
- Eat a lot of plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
- Avoid processed foods
- Choose lean sources of protein
- Limit your sodium intake
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- Limit your alcohol consumption
Stress raises blood pressure and puts extra strain on the heart muscle. Find ways to decrease your stress and relax. Exercise, meditation, and other stress management techniques can help you keep your stress levels under control. We encourage you to talk to your doctor about additional ways you can lower your stress in a way that works for you.
Smoking greatly increases your risk of heart disease, among other health issues. When you smoke, you inflict damage to the walls of your arteries, adding even more pressure on your heart.
It is never too late to quit. Even after years of smoking, if you quit, your body is slowly able to heal itself, lowering your risk of related health problems.
Signs of Heart Disease
The early stages of heart disease are difficult to recognize on your own because there are not many noticeable symptoms. This is why visiting your doctor regularly is a crucial first step in identifying heart disease and maintaining a healthy retirement.
However, there are some signs to look out for. Tell your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Pain, numbness, or tingling
- Shortness of breath, inhibiting your ability to perform normal activities
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Cold sweats
- Excessive fatigue
- Chest pain
These are all possible symptoms of heart disease, and your doctor may perform additional tests to determine if you are at risk of heart disease.
Tending to your heart is a crucial part of your overall health. Take control of your heart health and enjoy your retirement the way you want to! HarborChase Senior Living is here to help you on your journey. Find a HarborChase community near you and start celebrating senior living!