7 Crucial Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Heart as You Age
1. Reduce Salt
There is salt and sodium in most things we eat, but Americans consume way too much of it on average (you should take in less than 1,500-milligrams per day for best results, according to WebMD). Most adults take in 6-grams or more daily.
Salt retains fluids, which increase your blood pressure, adds the source. Higher blood pressure means it’s tougher on your heart to pump easily. This is a problem especially if you’re already prone to high blood pressure.
2. Know Your Numbers
Certain lab test results show the condition of your heart health and your risk of having a “heart-related event”– not something you want to experience. In particular you should know your numbers from these tests:
Cholesterol (HDL, LDL and Total)
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Once you have the baseline numbers, you and your doctor can create a plan to get the ones out of whack back in line.
The body makes and needs cholesterol in order to survive, but when the good HDL gets too low or the bad LDL too high, it increases your risk for a heart attack. As far as the numbers, your LDL should be less than 130mg/dL, HDL less than 40mg/dL and your total less than 200mg/dL.
Staying at a healthy weight, not smoking, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet of lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grain, will help bring your numbers back in line. If it doesn’t, your doctor may put you on a statin-based medication.
4. Butt Out
Smoking is still common, despite the known dangers, one of them being a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. “Smoking is one of the top controllable risk factors for heart disease,” notes HealthLine.com.
The source notes that quitting smoking will benefit all parts of your body, not just your heart. If you think you can’t beat the habit, there are medical programs you can look into to help you quit and give your heart a needed break.
5. Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force exerted on the blood vessels by your heart pumping blood throughout your body. Blood pressure is expressed as a maximum pressure (systolic) over a minimum pressure (diastolic) and displayed in millimeters of mercury. Ideally, it should be 120/80mm Hg.
If your blood pressure is too high, try lowering it by losing weight if you are overweight, and by exercising and eating a healthy diet low in sodium. If it is still not within tolerance, your doctor may have to put you on a blood pressure medication to get it down.
6. Body Mass Index (BMI)
If your BMI is over 24.9, you are overweight for your height and have an increased risk of getting heart disease or diabetes. You can lower your number by eating a healthy diet, losing weight and exercising.
Did you notice that most of the measurements are affected by eating a healthy diet, exercising and losing weight? Doing those three things, along with stopping smoking and limiting your intake of alcohol to one drink a day, will go a long way to getting your numbers back in check without having to go on any type of medication.
7. Walk it Off
Getting exercise is essential in many ways, as well as for your mental health. And it doesn’t take a gym membership to reap the benefits for your heart, notes the American Heart Association (AHA).
To lower your risk of heart disease, you can briskly walk 2.5-hours per week, or step it up for some higher-impact aerobics for 75-minutes per week. For additional health benefits for adults, add 2-days per week of muscle strengthening exercises.
Talk to you soon,
“Health Is True Wealth”
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