Heart disease is a major threat to all of us…
And, many of us believe that heart disease risks are inevitable as we age. In fact, 84% of us 65 and older die from heart disease. Though these risks actually increase with age, it doesn’t have to be an “inevitable part” of getting older.
The right lifestyle habits and certain changes could help you prevent heart disease. Check out these 10 ways to stay healthy right now:
- Stop Smoking! Now’s the time! This is probably my vote for changing your lifestyle and preventing heart disease.
- Whittle your Middle: Ok, if you are shaped more like an apple than a pear, you’re at a higher risk for heart disease. The risk rises when waist size goes over 35 inches for women and over 40 inches for men. The best way to reduce your waist size is by losing weight and exercising.
- Listen to your Dentist and FLOSS: Studies point to a link between gum disease and higher rates of heart disease. One reason explains that mouth bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the gums and increase artery plaque, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Another is that our bodies create inflammation in response to the infection, causing blood cells to swell and narrowing arteries. It is recommended to floss at least once a day to prevent gum disease.
- It is “IN” to sweat when you exercise: This is so true…it’s not how much time you spend working out but how hard you’re doing it. You need to pump up your heart rate until you’re perspiring. Experts advise pushing till you’re modestly out of breath. Tip: if you can sing, you’re not working out hard enough. If you can’t talk, you’re overdoing it. As always, consult your physician.
- Watch your “numbers”: Get regular check-ups to monitor conditions that affect the heart such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes.
- De-stress your stress: Stress can compound many heart disease risks steering towards an unhealthy lifestyle. I can’t emphasize strongly enough the damage stress can do to our bodies. We need to find healthy outlets to relieve the stress and lower our risks.
- Cuddle more? Snuggling not only feels good—it reduces stress and triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, which has been shown to help lower blood pressure. Rescue a pup from the pound and add a family member. Unconditional love!
- Keep it down! Research shows that for every 10 decibels of added roadway traffic noise near your home, your risk of stroke increases by 10%. (I guess what this is suggesting we need to do is to move to the country.)
- LOL…what does that mean?! Laughing out loud—we always seem to crack up at funny videos—this causes your blood vessels to dilate by 22%, which helps improve blood flow and, lowers blood pressure. So, LOL all you want!
- Stop the Stewing: Forgiveness helps to reduce blood pressure and lower your heart rate. This betrayal and conflict is my worst stressor, and researchers hypothesize that releasing anger decreases this known trigger of heart disease.
I have to admit, stress is the worst trigger, in my estimation, to the risk of heart disease. This is probably because it is a personal concern to me. Please just be aware and act accordingly.
Please feel free to jump in and join the dialogue on heart disease risks. Let us know your concerns, tips, and suggestions.
As always, I am…a concerned Boomer Explorer