Did you know? The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation notes that 9 in 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor heart disease and stroke.
The Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) has this data regarding heart disease: Among seniors in Canada, 14.8% of those ages 65 to 74 years report having heart disease, with the proportion climbing to 22.9% over age 75.
That’s serious. And it shows the importance of heart-healthy habits, especially as we get older.
No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to improve your heart health.
Before we delve into heart-healthy habits, it’s important to know how to spot signs of heart disease as this information could save your life and that of others.
Heart attack symptoms:
- Chest discomfort or pain (usually in the center, lasting more than a few minutes)
- Upper body discomfort (arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach)
- Shortness of breath (with or without chest discomfort)
- Other signs (such as a cold sweat, nausea, or light headedness)
Stroke symptoms (remember F.A.S.T.):
- Face drooping or numb on one side
- Arm weakness or numb
- Speech difficulty
- Time to call 911 if person shows any of these symptoms
Now, here are 7 of the most important habits people can follow to protect and improve their heart health:
1. Get enough exercise. Have a goal of at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise. One simple way to get in your exercise is to walk!
2. Quit smoking. If you smoke, make efforts to quit.
3. Eat a heart-healthy diet. Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables and limit saturated fats, salt, and foods containing cholesterol, like fatty meats.
4. Watch your numbers. Get regular check-ups to monitor health conditions that affect the heart, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, and make sure they’re under control with medication.
5. Reduce your alcohol intake. Excess alcohol consumption can worsen health conditions that contribute to heart disease, like blood pressure, arrhythmias, and high cholesterol levels.
6. Minimize stress in your life. Stress can compound many heart disease risks that seniors already face, steering you toward an unhealthy lifestyle. Find healthy outlets to relieve stress and lower your heart disease risk.
7. Watch your weight. Too many pounds can add up to increased heart disease risk. To help prevent heart disease, maintain a healthy body weight for your size.
Wishing you all the best in heart health!