Heart Health and Aging
Cardiovascular health is important at any age. Getting the right amount of exercise and proper nutrition is key. But, it’s no surprise that people age 65 and older are much more likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke than younger people. Heart disease is a leading cause of disability, diminishing the quality of life for the elderly.
A major cause of heart disease is the buildup of fatty deposits and plaque in the walls of the arteries over the course of many years. This buildup can lead to high blood pressure or hypertension.
Heart Healthy Tips for Seniors
While there is no way to reverse the damage done throughout the course of years, there are steps the elderly can take to prevent further damage and to improve overall cardiovascular health.
Below are some tips to work on lowering blood pressure and improving heart health in the elderly:
- Switch to a healthier eating plan – This can include eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Strive to eat more lean meats, fish, and lower fat dairy products. Especially pay attention to processed foods with high amounts of saturated fats and calories.
- Maintain a healthy weight – By tracking BMI and getting annual physicals, seniors can get a better idea of what their ideal body weight is and changes they can make to stay within that range.
- Exercise more – Cardiovascular exercises have been proven to improve overall heart health as someone ages and improve stamina. Be sure to talk to a doctor about what activities are safe to start.
- Keep an eye on cholesterol levels and blood pressure – These two health factors are major contributors to heart disease. By staying within a healthy range, it’s possible to minimize the risk of heart disease.
One of the best things seniors can do at home is to closely monitor blood pressure levels. By checking blood pressure on a regular basis, it’s easier to develop a baseline and note any major changes immediately.
Signs of Heart Disease
While no one wants to think about heart disease, it’s important that seniors are aware of the signs and symptoms. By paying close attention to these symptoms, it will aid in early diagnosis and treatment.
It is important to contact a doctor immediately if any of these symptoms arise:
- Pain, numbness, or tingling in the shoulders, neck, jaw, or back
- Shortness of breath during activity
- Chest pain during physical activity
- Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, or stomach
- Cold sweats
- Vomiting or nausea
Early heart disease is sometimes undetectable, so it’s important to get regular checkups with a primary care physician and get bloodwork done on a regular basis.
Getting Help at McGregor PACE
If you have concerns about your heart health or the health of an aging loved one, you don’t have to suffer alone. Help is available. Our all-inclusive services are provided both in our facilities and in participant’s homes. Our goal is to keep participants remaining as healthy as possible.