My mother always said that before you can love anyone else, you must love yourself and take care of yourself. One of the best ways to love yourself…is to take care of yourself. That can be hard to do if you are always trying to take care of everyone else. February is American Heart Health Month, which makes it a perfect time for us to hard look at our heart health. Seniors are at a particular risk when it comes to heart issues. A staggering 84 percent of seniors over the age of 65 die from heart disease. Here are the warning signs and steps to take towards better heart health according to everdayhealth.com.
The warning signs of heart disease often don’t appear until you’re having a heart attack. Symptoms of an emergency or impending heart attack may include:
- Feeling faint
- Weakness or a sensation of light-headedness
- Having a hard time catching your breath
- Feeling nauseous or vomiting
- Feeling very full or having indigestion
- Pain in the chest or an uncomfortable pressure in the chest
- Unusual pains in the back, shoulders, or neck
- An irregular heartbeat
Steps to Take
You can keep your heart healthy no matter how old you are, but it does take effort — possibly even changes in your everyday habits, such as eating a heart-healthy diet and increasing your activity level. Here’s how to get started:
- Get enough exercise This means at least 30 minutes of exercise almost every day of the week.
- Quit smoking If you do smoke, it’s not worth the risk.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables while limiting saturated fats, salt, and foods containing cholesterol, like fatty meats.
- Watch your numbers Get regular check-ups to monitor health conditions that affect the heart, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, and make sure they’re under control with medication.
- Reduce your alcohol intake Excess alcohol consumption can worsen health conditions that contribute to heart disease, like blood pressure, arrhythmias, and high cholesterol levels.
- Minimize stress in your life Stress can compound many heart disease risks that seniors already face, steering you toward an unhealthy lifestyle. Find healthy outlets to relieve stress and lower your heart disease risk.
- Watch your weight Too many pounds can add up to increased heart disease risk. To help prevent heart disease, maintain a healthy body weight for your size.
You can also find more heart health information on the website millionhearts.hhs.gov. They even have a heart age calculator that can be a real eye opener. There is no better time than right now to focus on your heart health. If you have concerns talk to your doctor. Take time to take care of you.
For most, knowledge is power. If you know the risks you should be able to avoid the consequences. That is the exact premise behind February being designated National Heart Month. American Heart Month, a federally designated event, is a great way to remind Americans to focus on their hearts and encourage them to get their families, friends, and communities involved.
Did you know according to the American Heart Association?
- The first American Heart Month, which took place in February 1964, was proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson via Proclamation 3566 on December 30, 1963.
- The Congress, by joint resolution on that date, has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating February as American Heart Month.
- At that time, more than half the deaths in the U.S. were caused by cardiovascular disease.
- While American Heart Month is a federally designated month in the United States, it’s important to realize that cardiovascular disease knows no borders. Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.3 million deaths each year.
- That number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030.
The Center for Disease Control reports that even though heart disease is still the leading cause of death for Americans, the rate of seniors hospitalized because of heart disease has decreased almost 50%, which indicates that nationwide education and prevention efforts are paying dividends. Assisted living communities are a great asset for those looking to make heart-healthy lifestyle changes. Some of the benefits include:
- Menus approved by dieticians
- Exercise programs to keep you moving
- Blood Pressure Monitoring and Medication Management
Below is the graphic put out to encourage seniors to stay active for heart health. For more information check out the link to the American Heart Association. For more information about our communities check out: http://www.greatoaksmanagement.com
Heart Disease affects more men than women, right? Wrong, heart disease is the # 1 killer of both men and women. In fact, 1 in 3 women die from heart disease I the US every year. That’s roughly one death per minute.
As a woman, it is important to know the risk factors that increase a woman’s chances of having heart disease. Those risk factors are:
- Family History of heart disease
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- High Cholesterol
- High blood sugar levels
Okay, we can’t change our family history, but we can work to reduce our risk in all the other areas. If you smoke, talk to you physician about ways to quit. Have your blood pressure checked. If it’s high, ask your physician for ways to get it down. When you go for your annual physical, pay attention to your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Ask your MD what your Body Mass Index (BMI) is and if it is in a safe range.
While we don’t like to think about heart disease, this is one problem that we can actually do something about. Don’t put it off, check your risk factors today.
Celebrate National Wear Red Day this Friday, February 5th 2016! “National Wear Red Day® — the first Friday each February — is our special day to bring attention to this staggering fact. We encourage everyone to wear red, raise their voices, know their cardiovascular risk and take action to live longer, healthier lives.”
To learn more about Great Oaks Management, click here.
For more information on National Wear Red Day, click here.