Approximately 735,000 adults experience heart attacks each year, and more than 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States annually. Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women. The La Mesa elderly home care experts at Coast Care Partners offer these strategies family members can implement to ensure the heart health of an older loved one.
1. Encourage a Heart-Healthy Diet
The right foods provide the fuel needed for energy in addition to the building blocks for cell growth, replication, and repair. The main portions of a meal should consist of colorful vegetables and fruits. Seniors should consume up to four ounces of poultry, fish, or lean red meat each day. Other protein options include beans, nuts, and seeds. The right type and amount of protein can keep LDL cholesterol levels within normal limits.
Seniors also need the calcium and vitamin D provided by low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Calcium ensures that muscles function properly, and it may be beneficial in lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Healthy fats that come from olive oil, oily fish, and nuts provide omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and protect the cardiovascular system from oxidative stress.
2. Encourage Regular Exercise
Exercise is vital for emotional, mental, and physical health. By regularly exercising, seniors can increase their blood circulation and strengthen their hearts. Blood vessels relax, which lowers blood pressure. As the heart becomes stronger, the heart rate decreases because the organ doesn’t need to work as hard to pump blood throughout the body. Older adults should strive to get 150 minutes of physical activity each week. The exercise regimen must include aerobic exercise and strength training.
3. Promote Better Sleep Hygiene
Older adults need seven to nine hours of restful sleep every night. The body needs this time to relax and make necessary repairs. During this time, the body releases chemicals that normalize various body organ systems. Seniors who don’t get enough sleep or experience sleep apnea are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
4. Assist with Weight Maintenance
Seniors who carry excess weight put undue stress on the cardiovascular system. Being overweight often makes it difficult to breathe, especially when engaged in physical activity. If the respiratory system cannot function properly, the blood doesn’t receive enough oxygen and organs cannot work at optimal levels. Overweight adults are also more likely to lead sedentary lives and eat unhealthy foods, which greatly affect cardiovascular health.
5. Alleviate Stress
When the body undergoes stress for extended lengths of time, adrenaline and cortisol levels remain high. These hormones raise the pulse rate and blood pressure and encourage a rise in LDL cholesterol. Some adults with chronic stress turn to unhealthy habits, such as eating the wrong foods, consuming alcohol, and smoking, which add to cardiovascular stress. Seniors can listen to calming music, read a good book, soak in a warm tub, or engage in any other activity that promotes relaxation and diversion.
To boost your loved one’s heart health, make sure a physical exam is first on the to-do list, and work with a doctor to manage any diagnosed heart conditions. In addition, consider hiring a trained professional caregiver, who can be a great source of support when it comes to helping your loved one maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle. For compassionate, knowledgeable senior care, La Mesa families trust Coast Care Partners. Our highly trained caregivers assist older adults with a wide variety of tasks, including preparing healthy meals and exercise. To learn about our high-quality in-home care services, give us a call at 619-354-2544 today.