The choices you make everyday are essential to your heart health and quality of life as you age. No matter your age, eating a healthy diet and maintaining physical activity will reduce your risk for heart disease. The first step of decreasing your risk is to educate yourself on what you can do. Over the years, unhealthy habits, like lack of exercise, smoking and poor diet, can truly take its toll on your health. However, there are easy steps you can take at any age to get your heart health on track. See below for some healthy tips at any age:
Prevention in your 20s
If you start prevention as early as your 20s, you are on the right track. Here are some more tips to be sure you are keeping up with your health in your 20s:
- Find a primary care doctor and get checked regularly. Make sure you know your numbers for blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose. These numbers can be an indicator for your individual risk for heart disease.
- Be active. Being active is easier done at a younger age. Those who start being active younger are more likely to keep this habit as they age. The AHA recommends 150 minutes of exercise a week.
- Do not smoke. Smoking significantly increases your risk of heart disease. The earlier you kick the habit, the earlier you can start reversing the damaging effects.
Prevention in your 30s
Your 30s are about balancing work, family and self care. Here are some tips to lighten your load:
- Be health conscious as a family. Make exercise a family activity with daily walks or playing outside. Instilling healthy habits as a family will help ensure children carry these habits into their adulthood.
- Be aware of your family history. Having an older family member with heart disease increases your risk. Find out which risk factors you can control through prevention and which are out of your hands.
- Learn to reduce stress. Stress can increase your risk of heart disease. It is common to worry about your family and forget about your own-self-care. Make sure to take at least 10-15 minutes a day to de-stress, whether this is meditation, a mini exercise, or a hot bath.
Prevention in your 40s
Your 40s are definitely not too late to start making healthy choices. These choices will improve your quality of life in the long run.
- Maintain a healthy weight. As you age, your metabolism begins to slow down. It is important to eat a heart healthy diet and maintain regular exercise to stay healthy and prevent heart disease.
- Check your blood sugar levels . By the time you are 45, you should have your fasting blood glucose testing done.
- Listen to complaints about snoring. Never brush off something as simple as snoring. It can be a sign for a more serious health issue, such as sleep apnea.
Prevention in your 50s
This is the time to make sure you are well-educated on signs and symptoms of heart disease. Keep your healthy habits going!
- Educate yourself of the signs of heart attack or stroke. There is more to a heart attack than chest pain and more to a stroke than just numbness on the left side. There are many different signs and they can even differ for men and women.
- Have an open relationship with your doctor. Use your provider as a resource to develop a personalized lifestyle plan that works best for you.
Prevention in your 60s+
It is unavoidable, but older age is a risk factor for heart disease. Here are some tips to live a longer and healthier life:
- Ask your doctor for an ankle-brachial index test. This test determines your risk for peripheral artery disease, a disease where plaque builds up in your arteries and disrupts blood flow.
- Maintain a healthy weight. As you age, your body needs fewer and fewer calories. Excess weight can cause a strain on your heart and increase your risk of heart disease or worsen an existing condition.