The body undergoes changes as we grow older, and this includes an aging cardiovascular system. Medline Plus explained that the walls of the heart and blood vessels thicken over time, which increases blood pressure, and slows the exchange rate of nutrients and waste.
While a healthy heart continues to pump enough blood for the body, an older heart might not be able to pump blood as effectively if you make it work harder. This can lead to common heart problems that older adults experience, like arteriosclerosis and congestive heart failure.
But heart problems shouldn’t be a “normal” part of growing old. After all, they can also be caused by modifiable factors like lifestyle and nutrition. So to help support your heart health, below are some tips to follow:
Exercise lowers blood pressure and reduces levels of bad cholesterol, making it great for heart health. At the same time, it also increases good cholesterol.
The general recommendation for older adults is 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week. There are four types of exercises that older adults should do regularly: training for endurance (through aerobics), strength, balance, and flexibility.
Plus, there are many low-impact workouts to protect the joints, such as water aerobics and yoga. If you have any chronic conditions, then you should consult a doctor first before adopting an exercise regime.
Another great all-around exercise is walking. It has many benefits beyond improving heart health, such as maintaining bone mass and losing weight — and it’s incredibly easy to do.
Follow a Heart-Healthy Diet
The basic thing to remember is to keep your diet low in calories and high in nutrients. Limit foods with saturated and trans fats as well as those with added sugars.
Refined grains like white bread, rice, and pasta should also be limited. Instead, choose whole grains like brown rice and whole-wheat bread.
Our article on ‘Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Fish Oil and Algae Oil: What Are the Benefits?’ mentions that foods with omega-3 fatty acids such as meat, eggs, and dairy are good for the heart, too. Fruits and vegetables are also certainly a must in the diet.
There’s no need to restrict any type of food, what matters is moderating food items in your diet.
Curb Unhealthy Habits
Cigarettes and too much alcohol are harmful to your heart. For one, the Food and Drug Administration states that cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals that interfere with body functions — including the delivery of oxygen-rich blood. This changes your blood’s chemistry and can cause plaque that can cause atherosclerosis and eventually a heart attack or stroke.
Meanwhile, excessive alcohol consumption causes a long-term increase in heart rate and blood pressure, weakening of the heart muscle, and arrhythmia. Cutting down on unhealthy habits is one of the best things you can do for your heart.
Have Good health Insurance Coverage
Heart problems often come with a slew of comorbidities. Some of the risks include obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
Heart problems can even cause hearing loss and eye problems since there may be restricted blood flow to these parts. This means you’ll need to manage heart health and comorbidities together.
But costs for managing these can add up — especially since you might have to take different medications and consult with different doctors. However, if your health insurance has good coverage, you won’t have to worry about paying out-of-pocket.
KelseyCare Advantage details how Medicare Advantage plans provide great benefits for those with heart health concerns. This is because they include everything that Parts A and B cover, alongside extra perks.
For instance, if you need to maintain a healthy weight, Advantage plans offer fitness membership too. This type of coverage allows you to treat heart health holistically.
When you feel stressed, your heart rate increases and your blood pressure rises. Chronic stress is especially dangerous since this means your body is constantly under pressure for days or even weeks at a time — and for people with heart conditions, high stress levels can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or angina.
WebMD reports that mental stress is actually common in people with heart conditions since they need to deal with the difficulty of managing the condition and frequent medical issues. As such, you should manage your stress. And one way to do it is to make time for hobbies, get enough sleep, and spend time with friends and family.
Though the cardiovascular system changes as we grow older, it doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll develop heart conditions. By following the above tips, your heart can stay healthy even as you age.
For more health articles, check our blog here on Nutritional Supplements Directory.