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.