Staying Heart Healthy All Year Round
Cardiovascular disease poses a major health threat to both men and women in the U.S. According to the American Heart Association, more than 71 million adults in the U.S. have at least one type of cardiovascular disease. These include dysfunctional conditions of the heart, arteries, and veins that supply oxygen to life-sustaining areas of the body such as the brain, the heart itself, and other vital organs.
These conditions can be caused by a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, and poor circulation. Patients with cardiovascular disease are at increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, and death.
Luckily, with the LOOKEE® Personal ECG, older adults can keep track of their heart health on the go. The device comes with a built-in app which arrows readings to be emailed directly to a cardiologist.
A healthy diet, regular exercise, and consistent monitoring are important steps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease
10 Ways to a Healthier Heart Today!
- Consume higher amounts of fiber. Not only does fiber help lower levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, it can aid weight management. Being overweight raises your risk of heart failure by a third, while being obese doubles it. Research indicates that with two-thirds of Americans being too heavy, only half are consuming a sufficient amount of fiber. Top sources include oats, beans, raspberries, blackberries, oranges and green peas.
- Increase potassium intake. 99 percent of women and 90 percent of men don't get enough potassium in their diet. It plays a role in regulating the fluid balance in our cells and blunts the effects of excess sodium. Too much sodium and too little potassium can lead to the development of high blood pressure. Strike a healthier balance by cutting back on salt and increasing potassium intake with bananas, potatoes, broccoli and kiwi.
- Consume less coffee. Four or more cups of coffee on a daily basis could elevate blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Drinking more than two cups of coffee a day can harden the arteries and contribute to arteriosclerosis. Switch to tea; its heart-healthy benefits include lower blood pressure and reduced inflammation.
- Beets for heart disease. Beets contain the antioxidant betanin, which can help keep LDL cholesterol from clogging the arteries. Moreover, this root vegetable is a good source of folic acid, which helps to break down homocysteine. Top sources of folic acid include spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, and papaya.
- Become a better listener. Studies performed at the University of Baltimore found that people with so-called "dominant personalities" had a 47 percent higher risk of developing heart disease in comparison to individuals with more reserved personalities.
- The "L" word your heart needs: lycopene. This heart-healthy phytonutrient -; found in tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit - may lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. Studies have found that eating seven or more servings of tomatoes a week might reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30 percent.
- Choose healthy fats. Monounsaturated fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts) - when used in place of saturated fats (butter, bacon, beef) -help lower cholesterol. Another healthy fat - omega-3 - helps reduce inflammation. Omega-3 sources include wild salmon, walnuts and flaxseed.
- Have a Moderate Breakfast. While skipping breakfast actually lowers your metabolism, going overboard is no better. Research from the University at Buffalo found that big, unhealthy breakfasts cause a release of inflammatory chemicals associated with clogged arteries. Consider healthy alternatives for breakfast including fruit, muesli, yogurt and smoothies.
- Consume more soy. Twenty-five grams of soy protein per day can help lower cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. Soy's other heart-healthy nutrients include folic acid and magnesium (which helps maintain normal blood pressure). Soymilk, edamame, tofu and soy nuts are just some of the many ways to enjoy soy.
- Try to Raise HDL cholesterol. Higher levels of "good" cholesterol can be almost as important as low levels of LDL cholesterol at keeping cardiovascular disease at bay. In addition to exercise, quitting smoking and limiting trans fats, a University of Scranton study found that drinking cranberry juice could help boost HDL levels.
Major Risk Factors of Heart Disease
Cholesterol is a type of a lipid, a soft, fat-like substance that serves as a source of fuel. Excessive cholesterol can cause build-up of atherosclerotic plaque. Accumulation of plaque in arteries can block blood flow and lead to a heart attack. LDL cholesterol, the so-called "bad" cholesterol, is transported to sites throughout the body, where it's used to repair cell membranes or to make hormones. LDL cholesterol can accumulate in the walls of your arteries. HDL cholesterol, the so-called "good" cholesterol, transports cholesterol to the liver, where it's altered and removed from the body.
Normal blood pressure level is defined as less than 130 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for systolic blood pressure and less than 85 mm Hg for diastolic blood pressure. The higher the blood pressure, the more likely it is to take a toll on the heart and on the brain. Blood pressure should be checked whether or not your levels are high. Blood pressure should be monitored on a regular basis, especially for those suffering from hypertension. The LOOKEE® AirBP Blood Pressure Monitor is one of the most portable monitors in the world. The device also comes with a built-in app that allows individuals to record readings and send them to their physician.
Another risk factor for heart disease is diabetes, a chronic disease of insulin deficiency or resistance. Type 2 diabetes, the most common type, is associated with obesity and may be prevented by maintaining ideal body weight through exercise and balanced nutrition.
Preventing Heart Disease
The effect of smoking on your lungs can severely debilitate your health which can indirectly cause many of the medical conditions mentioned above.
Routine physical activity is highly recommended and helpful in controlling obesity. Try to perform 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Fast walking is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease. Maintaining a healthy weight can have a positive effect on lipid levels and blood pressure preventing heart disease. Older adults looking to stay active without long trips to the gym can benefit from the LOOKEE® Arm Workout EMS Exerciser. .
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Limit daily alcohol intake to three ounces or fewer to prevent heart disease. People who drink large amounts of alcohol (six to eight ounces a day) tend to have higher blood pressure.
Signs of a Heart Attack
Heart attacks come in all sizes, from minor to major, and the symptoms. Symptoms of a pending heart attack may recur before one actually takes place.
Heart attack symptoms mask themselves as indigestion, being overworked and tired all the time, and taking naps several times a day.
During a heart attack, a patient may feel feverish, have a nauseous sick feeling, shortness of breath, labored breathing, sweating, tingling in their arms, chest pain, heaviness in the chest area as if someone were pushing down on their chest.
One of the major causes of a heart attack is the restriction of blood flow to the heart muscle, which causes any number of symptoms. But the bottom line is that the severity of the heart attack will in many ways determine what symptoms will be experienced. The more severe the blockage, the more severe the heart attack symptoms in most cases. The blockage may occur due to a blood clot, or material buildup inside the artery walls.
A patient's life may depend on a quick response and immediate medical attention. Hence if older adults start experiencing even minor heart attack symptoms, they should call 911. It's better to be wrong and safe than to be right and not get the right help on the way.
CDC - Heart Disease Facts:
Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap:
Ten Tips for Better Heart Health:
Keeping your heart healthy:
28 Healthy Heart Tips:
Mayo Clinic - Heart disease:
Know Your Risk for Heart Disease: