Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death among the elderly. It can also have a profound effect on brain health, especially since strokes are a common cause of brain damage and dementia in elderly patients.
The good news is that those who have been diagnosed with heart disease or recently suffered a heart attack can begin to recover and improve their overall well-being. Here are some tips that will help you or your loved one improve their cardiovascular health at any age!
Stress alone isn't explicitly linked to heart disease, but it has been known to influence behaviors that can affect cardiovascular health. Many people who are stressed out cope by smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or overeating unhealthy foods, all things that can contribute to high blood pressure and can lead to heart disease. Of course, stress itself causes your heart rate to increase and your blood pressure to rise. It obviously won't guarantee a heart attack, but it could spell disaster for those who are already in poor health.
Since stress is unavoidable, the best you can do is manage it in healthy ways. Find relaxing hobbies such as listening to music, playing games, talking to friends, or whatever you enjoy. Stick to eating healthy foods if you feel the need to "stress eat," and check out some classes on meditation techniques such as yoga and tai chi. You can speak to your doctor if you don't know where to find these classes, but know that they are easier to find than you might think.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week to maintain a healthy heart. That may sound daunting to some people — especially those with physical limitations — but that level of activity is possible for almost everybody.
Low-impact exercises such as swimming, light calisthenics, and bicycling are all great activities for someone who wants to improve their cardiovascular health, but simply walking every day, for those who are able, will provide some much-needed exercise. Daily walks might also be relaxing, so you can reduce your stress while you stay fit.
In any event, make sure you speak to your doctor to develop an exercise plan that will be safe and beneficial for you before you start any vigorous workout programs.
Since what you eat also contributes to your cardiovascular health, you may need to rethink your diet if you live with heart disease. Leafy greens, whole grains, beans, berries, and foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and nuts, are all great for your heart's health, so include more of these kinds of foods in your diet if you haven't done so already.
Avoid processed foods and foods that are high in cholesterol such as fast food, deli meats, sugary cereals, and soft drinks. You don't need to cut these foods from your diet completely, but you should definitely cut down on them if you make a habit out of eating them.
You can look up tasty recipes containing heart-healthy foods if you don't quite know how to prepare them, and always consult your doctor if you have any questions about your diet.
Keep Your Loved Ones Safe with a Los Angeles Caregiver
Even though you can make positive changes to your lifestyle and your health by yourself, a loved one who is no longer completely independent may need help from a licensed caregiver.
If you have a loved one in need of this kind of care in the Los Angeles area, don't hesitate to contact Homewatch Caregivers of West Los Angeles. We will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with the in-home care that your loved one needs to live their best life.