Taking Care of Your Heart

Heart disease continues to be the cause of the most number of deaths per year in the United States, and it can also be preventable. Read on to learn about several prevention tips that will keep you and your aging loved ones as healthy as possible. Thanks for visiting us at Advocare, providing Geriatric Care Management and in-home senior care placement services for South Florida families of North Palm Beach, Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and more.

Heart disease is the biggest killer of American women and men. But, it’s also a preventable disease in many cases.

With February designated American Heart Month, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, offers 10 tips for reducing your risk of cardiovascular trouble:

  • Know your numbers: Tests will give you insight into your risk for heart disease. Keep track of your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, hemoglobin A1C (blood sugars) and inflammatory markers.
  • Watch your diet: “Research has shown a diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and olive oil — consistent with the Mediterranean diet — can decrease the incidence of heart disease by 30 percent, whereas diets high in saturated fats and simple sugars can increase the risk of heart disease by 30 percent,” Steinbaum said. “Paying attention to what you are eating is one of the major cornerstones of keeping your heart healthy.”
  • Exercise: American Heart Association guidelines recommend two and a half hours of cardiovascular exercise per week, Steinbaum said. Exercise lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and other medical conditions.
  • Manage your stress: “Stress takes a toll on the heart, increasing hormones throughout the body [that are] associated with the ‘flight-or-fight syndrome,’ leading to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure,” Steinbaum said. “It can also increase the stress hormones, such as cortisol, which causes inflammation, all leading to heart disease. We all have stress in our lives, and managing it is a large part of being heart-healthy.”

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