Heart disease is the leading cause of death in seniors. Most seniors have some form of heart disease and billions of dollars are spent each year in medications meant to reduce the risks that accompany heart disease.
Heart disease research has shown in the past that family history has a big role to play in the likelihood that someone will struggle with heart disease, but more recent research suggests that we may have put too much emphasis on genetics when it came to our past understanding of heart disease and how it’s typically treated.
What Recent Heart Disease Research Tells Us
If you’ve thought before that your family’s history of heart disease means all you can do is take drugs to reduce your own risk, research says otherwise. In a recent study, researchers looked at how different behavioral changes influenced the risks of heart disease, and how those changes affected people who had different levels of risk based on their family history.
They found that even those patients who are genetically predisposed to having heart problems saw a big difference in their level of risk based on adopting healthier habits. They studied the affects of four different healthy habits and found that each habit on its own reduced the risks, but the more of the four habits people committed to together, the more their risk decreased.
The results are promising. No matter how common heart disease is in your family, you can largely overcome the risks by adopting a few key habits.
What Seniors Can Do to Prevent and Control Heart Disease
Chances are, nothing on this list will surprise you. The main steps you can take to reduce the risks of heart disease are all healthy habits we all know we should adopt already. Here’s one more reason to make the effort.
- Quit smoking.
It’s hard, but it can improve your life in so many ways – including reducing your chances of a heart attack or stroke. If you haven’t ever been able to quit successfully on your own, there are resources out there that can help.
- Start exercising.
According to recent statistics, only about 12% of people over the age of 65 said they spend any time exercising. Yet it’s one of the best ways to ward off the risks of heart disease. There are loads of senior friendly exercises you can try to get started and even just a half hour a day can make a huge difference in your health.
- Bring more healthy ingredients into your diet.
You know the drill. Make an effort to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and dairy. No matter how many vitamins and supplements you take, our bodies absorb nutrients best when we get them through the produce we eat, so search out healthy recipes and trade in those processed snacks for fruit.
- Reduce how often you eat unhealthy foods.
Eating healthy foods is only one half of the equation, you also need to cut out the unhealthy ones. Avoid most meat, refined grains, trans fats and food and drinks high in sugar.
Don’t risk a heart attack or stroke. The research is clear on how to minimize your chances of dealing with either. Embrace these four healthier habits and you can expect to live comfortably for longer.