Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease in Seniors

As people age, their body ages with them. This makes it even more important to practice proactive measures for good health, such as proper exercise, nutrition, and management of diseases and medical conditions. Risk of cardiovascular diseases tends to increase as people age in part because their physical health and lifestyle over the years. There are numerous risk factors that can impact cardiovascular disease – especially heart disease – in seniors.
1. Improper diet
As seniors age, they want to ensure that they still maintain a well-balanced diet. This means making sure that they are getting all of the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need while reducing their intake of foods that are high in fat and cholesterol. Fat and cholesterol can lead to blockages or narrowing of the arteries which could potentially lead to a heart attack.
2. Certain medications
Increased use of certain medications – more specifically painkillers – can have an impact on cardiovascular health. Anti-inflammatory medications may contribute to the risk of atrial fibrillation which in turn can increase the risk of having a stroke or heart attack. Only taking medications as prescribed and seeking alternative treatment options can help to reduce reliance on these drugs.
3. Diabetes
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels may result in a buildup of plaque along the arteries and lead to an eventual heart attack. It is important for seniors to keep their diabetes well managed and keep their blood sugar as stable as possible. There are several medications and treatment options to help seniors to better manage their diabetes and help reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease.
4. Low activity level
A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to cardiovascular problems. As seniors age, they may have more issues with mobility. Engaging in regular exercise to help improve flexibility, strengthen muscles, and increase circulation can help to boost health. Moderate exercise at an appropriate level for your senior’s abilities can work not only the heart, but also the lungs and other muscles as well.
5. High blood pressure
High blood pressure can increase strain on the heart and blood vessels. As a result, this can lead to blockages, clots, or weakening of the arteries. These can all increase the risk of a stroke, heart attack, or other damage. Keeping blood pressure under control and eating a diet that is low in sodium can help to reduce risk, as can staying active and maintaining a healthy weight.
Knowing the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, along with one’s family history, can help in remaining proactive. Seniors should talk to their doctor about how they can reduce their risk and what changes they can safely make to their lifestyle. This can help to enhance their health and quality of life.

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