Heart Healthy 300x200February isn’t just about the hearts on Hallmark cards. It’s also American Heart Month and a time to think about how your heart changes as you age. If you dedicate time to your health now, you’ll reap the benefits of a strong heart later on.

A Change Of Heart

Your heart is a muscle made of chambers, arteries, veins, and valves that pumps blood to your body. As you age, the walls and mechanisms of your heart can harden. But why does your heart change with age?

Plaque: Fatty deposits build up in the arteries causing them to narrow and inhibit oxygenated blood flow to your body. Plaque is caused by high-fat diets, smoking, and high blood pressure.

Metabolism: As you age, your metabolism begins to slow down. You aren’t burning as many calories as you used to, which can cause weight gain and strain your heart.

Damage: Excessive drinking, smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes all damage the cells in your heart. Your heart will struggle to pump blood, putting you at risk for heart failure.

High blood pressure: This is a common condition that is not detectable without screening. Untreated high blood pressure can cause problems with your heart, eyes, and kidneys.

Live To Your Heart’s Content

There’s plenty you can do to keep your heart healthy and prevent further damage. It’s all about moderation, being consistent, and regularly visiting your doctor.

Eat well: Make your plate as colorful as possible. Fill it with fruits and vegetables; avoid processed foods, meat, and dairy; and reduce sugar and fat intake. Reduce your sodium intake, too, as it causes high blood pressure.

Keep moving: If you’re not exercising, your body won’t burn the calories you consume. Lack of exercise negatively impacts your weight and circulation, and your heart will feel the strain. Aim for 150 minutes of exercise per week, or at least 30 minutes per day. Take a walk, do some gardening, go bowling, but start slowly.

Give up your vices: Smoking damages your artery walls, and excessive drinking worsens health conditions that exacerbate heart problems. Don’t wait to quit smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption to one or two drinks a day.

See your doctor: Visit your doctor and schedule regular screenings for blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Monitoring your heart will help detect symptoms early on and keep your heart safe.

Embassy Healthcare offers a comprehensive cardiac care program that focuses on preventative care and dietary monitoring. To learn more about this and other services, call us at 888-975-1379 or contact us online.