Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States with almost 600,000 people dying of heart disease every year. Many people think that as you age, heart disease is inevitable, but that’s not true. Though heart disease risk does increase with age, the right lifestyle and healthy habits can help protect against heart disease.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is a term used to describe a number of different health conditions that affect the heart. In the United States, the most common form of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which is often responsible for serious cardiovascular problems including heart attack, heart failure, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat.
Symptoms of Heart Disease
Symptoms of heart disease don’t often show themselves until a heart attack. Symptoms of an impending or emergency heart attack include:
- Feeling faint
- Weakness or a sensation of light-headedness
- Having a hard time catching your breath
- Feeling nauseous or vomiting
- Feeling very full or having indigestion
- Pain in the chest or an uncomfortable pressure in the chest
- Unusual pains in the back, shoulders, or neck
- An irregular heartbeat
Tips For A Healthy Heart
- GET EXERCISE
- STAY ACTIVE THROUGHOUT THE DAY
- QUIT SMOKING
- EAT HEALTHY
- GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to keep your heart healthy. According to the National Institute of Health there are 4 types of exercise: endurance, flexibility, strength, and balance. Endurance is the type of exercise that is best for a healthy heart. Engage in a physical activity that keeps your heart rate up for 30 minutes such as swimming, biking, walking, running, hiking, or aerobics. Do this for 5 days a week to stay in good shape.
A morning workout is a great way to start the day, but what about the rest of the day? If you’re sitting all day, even with that morning workout, you’re still at risk for heart disease. It’s important to get up and get your blood pumping every hour of the day. The American Heart Association recommends that you get 250 steps every hour. At a brisk pace, you can get 250 steps in approximately 3 minutes.
If you’re a smoker, it’s time to quit. You probably know that smoking causes breathing problems and lung cancer, but it also makes you more likely to have a heart attack. Every cigarette you smoke makes it more likely for you to develop heart disease. Approximately 1 in 5 deaths from heart disease are directly related to smoking.
Eating healthy shouldn’t just be for a temporary diet. It should be an everyday thing. That doesn’t mean you can’t indulge every once in a while on sweets, but it is important that unhealthy foods are not a part of your everyday food intake. In order to eat healthy, stick with the basics: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nuts, seeds and legumes. Don’t offset this healthy eating by covering them in butter or frying them in oil. That will raise your “bad” cholesterol and clog arteries. Avoid fatty cuts of meat and don’t eat red meat too often. Instead, eat lean meats such as chicken, turkey, or fish.
When you sleep, your heart rate decreases and your blood pressure goes down, giving your heart a much needed break. To get a better night’s sleep, limit caffeine and don’t drink it past 2pm. Keep a regular sleep schedule by going to bed around the same time every night and waking up at the same time each morning. When you exercise, do it in the morning or mid-day as opposed to in the evening. Exercising too close to bed time can give a surge of energy.
If you are nearing or already 65 and would like more information on Medicare Plans in Washington State, please visit our Overview of Medicare, as well as our guide for those who are New to Medicare. For assistance in choosing a Medicare plan, contact us to get in touch with a licensed insurance agent today!