heart and stethoscope Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States? For both men and women, one in four deaths is the result of heart disease. During the month of February, we observe American Heart Month, an initiative to raise awareness of heart disease and encourage prevention.

What can seniors do to help improve their heart health?

Schedule a Doctor’s Appointment

If you do not make regular doctor’s appointments, you may be in the dark about your health. While you can self-manage weight and stress, there are other underlying conditions that can only be identified by a doctor. Have your cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, and body mass index measured, so you can make any necessary lifestyle changes.

Maintain an Active Lifestyle

While some seniors are restricted from intense activity, low-impact exercise can also help keep the heart healthy. Short walks and stress-relieving activities like Tai Chi a few times a week improve cardiovascular health. Experts recommend about 30 minutes of physical activity a day, but it’s important to talk with a doctor about what is safe.

Eat Heart Healthy Meals

Foods that are high in salt and fat are not good for our hearts. Whether cooking at home, eating out or in a skilled nursing facility, older people should eat plenty of vegetables and eliminate sugary drinks. Create well-balanced meals with whole grains, lean meats and fresh fruits to promote heart health.

Manage Your Medications

Is your aging loved one taking several medications? When you experience unusual side effects, it’s time to talk to your doctor about drug interactions. Some medications can cause high blood pressure or cholesterol, which could lead a person to heart attack or stroke. With these conditions, you are also more likely to develop heart disease.
For more advice about senior health, Avon Health Center is your family’s community resource. To learn more, contact us today!