Commitment + Clinical Leadership = Better Outcomes
9 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease
Heart Disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, with an estimated 655,000 Americans dying from it each year.1
Older adults are at risk for heart disease because aging can cause a change in the heart and blood vessels. This makes the heart incapable of beating as effectively as it once did during physical activities or when the body is stressed. The arteries can also stiffen with age, which can put the body at risk for high blood pressure and heart-related problems.2
Here are 9 steps you can take to prevent heart disease and strengthen your heart health today.
How to Prevent Heart Disease
- Lower Blood Pressure. High blood pressure can put you at risk for heart disease because it causes the coronary arteries to narrow from fat, cholesterol, and plaque build-up. This disrupts blood flow and damages your heart.3 Lower your blood pressure by eating healthy, reducing the amount of sodium in your diet, exercising, and limiting alcohol and caffeine intake.4
- Eat Healthy. What you eat can directly affect your heart because food impacts your cholesterol levels, blood pressure levels, and bloodstream health. Foods that have been proven to be heart healthy include berries, fish, nuts, whole grains, and beans.5
- Control Cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood that can build up over time and block blood flow to the heart. One way to control your cholesterol levels is by limiting foods with unsaturated fats such as animal meats, cheese, and butter. You should also have a cholesterol test given by a trusted doctor every 5 years.6 A cholesterol test will show your good and bad cholesterol levels and help you gauge if you need to adjust your diet.
- Being physically active gets your heart pumping, which strengthens your heart and prevents heart disease. Aerobic exercises improve your blood flow circulation, which can help control your blood glucose levels. Studies found that resistance training correlates to improving HDL cholesterol levels (good) while reducing LDL cholesterol (bad).7 You should strive to exercise for at least 30-60 minutes each day.
- Don’t Smoke: One out of every five smoking-related deaths is caused by heart disease. Smoking can reduce the blood flow to your heart, which can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk for blood clots and high cholesterol.8
- Maintain a Healthy Weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is an important part to keeping a healthy heart. Your current waist circumference is a good predictor of how much abdominal fat your body has. Generally, you are at risk if your waist circumference is:9
40 inches or more for men
35 inches or more for women
Stomach fat can lead to high blood pressure as well as raise your body’s levels of triglycerides, which are a type of fat in the blood that puts you at risk for heart related problems. Eat healthy, avoid sugary foods, and exercise to keep a healthy weight.10
- Control Diabetes. Diabetics are at risk for heart disease because they are more likely to experience high blood pressure or cholesterol. People with diabetes can manage their blood glucose levels by following a healthy eating routine, monitoring their blood glucose levels, and following their doctor’s medical advice.11
- Keep Stress Under Control. Stress is another contributing factor to heart disease because it can increase your blood pressure, cause irregular heartbeats, and reduce blood flow to the heart.12 Focus on managing stress through relaxation, exercise, meditation, spending time with family, getting enough sleep, and staying positive.
- Get enough Sleep. When you sleep, your heartrate slows and your blood pressure drops by 10-20%. This gives your body a chance to recover from the strain that has been put on your cardiovascular system during the day. A study estimated that 400,000 of the participants found a correlation between not getting enough sleep and heart failure.13 Strive to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night to help your body recover and prevent heart-related issues.
Take Care Of Your Heart!
Now that you know how heart disease can be prevented, create an action plan to start making some of these healthy changes to your lifestyle.
Here at Saber Healthcare, we have over 120+ skilled nursing and rehabilitation communities that provide high quality care to the residents we are privileged to serve. Learn more about the care we can provide to you or your loved one today.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Heart Disease Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 8 September 2020. Accessed 24 August 2021. Link: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
- “Heart Health and Aging.”U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute On Aging. 1 June 2018. Accessed 24 August 2021. Link: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/heart-health-and-aging
- “How High Blood Pressure Can Lead to a Heart Attack.” American Heart Association, heart.org. 31 October 2016. Accessed 24 August 2021. Link: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/health-threats-from-high-blood-pressure/how-high-blood-pressure-can-lead-to-a-heart-attack
- “10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). 24 February 2021. 24 August 2021. Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974
- “10 Heart Heathy Foods to Add to Your Diet.” Saber Healthcare Group. 22 August 2021. Accessed 24 August 2021. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/10-heart-healthy-foods-to-add-to-your-diet
- “Cholesterol Myths and Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 4 January 2021. Accessed 24 August 2021. Link: https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/myths_facts.htm
- Stewart, Kerry J. “3 Kinds of Exercise That Boost Heart Health.” John Hopkins University, John Hopkins Medicine. Accessed 24 August 2021. Link: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/3-kinds-of-exercise-that-boost-heart-health
- “Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease.” John Hopkins University, John Hopkins Medicine. Accessed 24 August 2021. Link: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/smoking-and-cardiovascular-disease
- "Obesity & Heart Disease." Cleveland Clinic. 2 January 2019. Accessed 24 August 2021. Link: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17308-obesity--heart-disease
- McQueen, Janie. Beckerman, James, ed. “Your Waistline and Heart Disease: What's the Link?” WebMD. 23 December 2015. Accessed 24 August 2021. Link: https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/features/weight-waistlines-heart-disease-risk
- “Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Last reviewed April 2021. Accessed 24 August 2021. Link: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke
- “Stress and Heart Health.” The American Heart Association, heart.org. Accessed 24 August 2021. Link: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/stress-and-heart-health
- Suni, Eric. Callendar, Ealena, ed. “How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Heart.” Sleep Foundation. 4 December 2020. Accessed 24 August 2021. Link: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-deprivation/how-sleep-deprivation-affects-your-heart