Heart health should be a lifelong concern, but it becomes particularly important as we age. Not only is cardiovascular disease responsible for 610,000 deaths in America every year, its risk factors like obesity, high blood pressure, and physical inactivity can also contribute to the occurrence of diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and general cognitive dysfunction.
If you’re concerned about the heart health of either yourself or an aging loved one, there are a few key pieces of valuable information to keep in mind.
Coronary Heart Disease Causes the Most Deaths
Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, accounting for more than 370,000 deaths annually. It occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries near the heart, narrowing the pathway for blood to flow through. This build-up leads to reduced transfer of oxygen-rich blood to your heart, with the narrowed arteries potentially leading to blood clots, angina, heart attacks, and heart failure.
Preventing coronary heart disease can be as simple as making lifestyle changes such as eating healthier, exercising more regularly, and quitting smoking. The treatment of it involves these same lifestyle changes, along with taking medications that manage the risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, prediabetes, and diabetes.
Some Activities Can Increase Your Risk of Coronary Heart Disease
Smoking, insulin resistance, and a sedentary lifestyle are some of the largest contributing factors to coronary heart disease.
Men are slightly more likely than women to develop the condition, though heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women across the majority of demographics.
High blood pressure is another big contributor to the disease. If left untreated for many years, it can lead to hardened arteries that narrow the passageway through which your blood flows. Smoking can contribute to high blood pressure and issues with your vascular system, both of which can lead to the development of arterial issues.
High stress also plays a role in heart health issues and hardening of arteries. Relaxation and stress-relief are vital to maintaining the healthiest heart possible.
Aging Causes Natural Changes in Blood Vessels and Heart Health
Another reason it’s so important to monitor and manage your heart health as you age is that there are natural, inevitable changes to the heart through the years – and discerning between normal changes and warning signs is important.
Changes in the rhythm and heartbeat are normal as we age. Arrhythmia and a slower overall heart rate are both fairly common in the aging population, as is a slight increase in the size of the heart. Blood volume is also slightly reduced in older people, as the body carries generally less fluid as we age.
It’s important to be familiar with the normal alterations to the state and functions of your heart throughout the aging process so that you can identify what’s within the normal bounds and what needs to be checked out by your doctor.
You Can Help Your Aging Loved One Maintain Heart Health
If you’re concerned for the heart health of an aging loved one, diet and exercise are the easiest places to start. Heart-healthy foods play a vital role in this respect.
Due to your loved one being older, it may be difficult for them to exercise like they used to. But any activity such as walking will help them raise their heart rate and stay active, giving them a much better chance at fending off heart disease.
While providing this type of assistance on a daily basis can be a challenge as you live your daily life, home care services can make everything much easier.
Bluebird Homecare understands the demands of a heart-centric diet and exercise regimen. That’s why we offer services like meal preparation that are focused on helping provide your aging loved one with the nutritious, consistent meals they need to continue living healthy and independent lives.
We also offer transportation services to ensure that you or your aging loved one can get to the grocery store for healthy ingredients or the pharmacy to fill their heart medication prescriptions.
The next step towards helping yourself or your aging loved one maintain heart health is just a phone call away.
Contact Bluebird Homecare to learn more about our services today.