When it comes to heart health, we’ve got good news and bad news. Let’s start with the bad: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The good news? Heart disease is highly preventable, and the younger you start taking preventative measures, the better.
Taking care of your heart is important at every stage in life. It’s best to maintain a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep and exercise, but there are some more specific things you can do depending on your stage in life. Here are a few ways you can set your heart up for success at any age.
In your 20s…
It’s never too early to lower your risk for heart disease. The first step to taking care of your heart is learning about your personal risk factors. Make an appointment with your physician for a complete physical with lab work so that you can adjust your diet and exercise regimen accordingly. Make regular visits to your physician so that you know your risk factors and family medical history.
Start developing healthy habits, like regular exercise. Your heart is healthiest when it’s on the move! Perhaps most importantly, don’t smoke, and quit if you already do. Smoking increases your chances of developing heart disease by 30 percent.
In your 30s…
Keep an eye on your stress levels. Heart disease can happen at any age, which may become a source of stress itself. Stress wreaks havoc on your blood pressure and artery walls. If you’re feeling stressed, work to find out the source and figure out a way to manage it. Common stress relief techniques include meditation, deep breathing exercises and spending time doing something you enjoy.
Women should check with their doctors to see if the birth control they’re taking may be exacerbating any existing risk factors. Additionally, make sure you’re paying regular visits to your physician for physicals, eating a healthy diet and exercising three to four times a week.
In your 40s…
This is the age when your risk factors increase a bit and as a result, there are some extra screening tests you can take to see if you’re at risk for heart disease. Consult with your physician and ask if he or she recommends any of these screenings.
In your 50s and beyond…
Make sure that you’re getting the appropriate tests at the appropriate intervals. You should be getting your cholesterol checked every five years, your blood pressure checked every two years, your blood glucose levels checked every three years, your waist circumference checked as needed and your body mass index (BMI) checked at every visit.
Make sure you know the signs of a heart attack so that you can recognize them in yourself or a loved one. If you or someone you know is experiencing new chest, neck or back discomfort in combination with shortness of breath or sweating, seek medical attention immediately. Despite what TV and movie portrayals of heart attacks show you, only half of heart attack sufferers feel chest pain.
Posted: 5/07/2015 by
Filed under: 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s, Cardiovascular, Health, Heart, in, your