What Are You Doing to Celebrate World Heart Day?
September 29, 2016 is World Heart Day. How will you celebrate? Eating healthy, exercising and remembering to get those regular check-ups are a great way to start.
The World Heart Federation created World Heart Day to remind people how important it is to keep the heart healthy. Heart disease and stroke kill more than 17 million people around the world each year. That number will increase to 23 million by 2030 if we don’t do something about it now.
Heart Disease Risks for Seniors
Although cardiovascular disease doesn’t discriminate, seniors face unique risks simply because of their age:
- According to the World Heart Federation, risk of stroke doubles after age 55
- Cholesterol levels rise as we age, generally peaking by the time we turn 60. Although they’ll eventually plateau, high cholesterol levels put seniors at high risk for heart attack
- Like cholesterol, blood pressure levels rise as we age, making it that much more important to follow healthy lifestyle habits to help keep blood pressure check.
- Type 2 diabetes, which develops most often in middle aged and older people, increases heart disease risks due to prolonged levels of high blood sugar in the blood vessels
How to Celebrate World Heart Day with Heart-Healthy Habits
If you can’t attend one of the many worldwide activities scheduled today, you can still do your part to celebrate World Heart Day.
Here are a few ideas for staying heart healthy not just on September 29th, but throughout the year:
1. Eat Healthy
Eating healthy doesn’t mean having to give up all the foods that taste good to you. Think about it in terms of moderation, and try to stick to a low-fat diet that’s also high in fruits and vegetables; low in salt, saturated fats and refined sugars; rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins; and incorporates whole grains.
2. Stay Active
Living a sedentary life can lead to serious health problems, from diabetes to heart disease and obesity. You don’t have to run marathons. Cycling, gardening, high or low-intensity exercise classes and swimming are among your many options. Experts recommend 30 minutes of exercise a day to maintain a healthy weight and keep your heart strong.
3. Get Regular Check-Ups
Seeing your doctor on a regular basis is key to early detection of many diseases. Be sure to tell your doctor about changes in your health or new symptoms. Also, if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, follow your doctor’s advice and take any prescribed medications. You can control these conditions and doing so can help prevent heart disease.
4. Stop Smoking
Smoking doubles your risk for a heart attack. Non-smokers who live with smokers also face increased risks. If you smoke, quit. If you live with someone who smokes, encourage them to quit too. The American Lung Association provides resources to help.
How will you keep your heart healthy on World Heart Day and beyond? Please share your suggestions and tips with us in the comments below.
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