As a leading provider of senior care in Douglas County, we wanted to honor American Heart Month, a campaign put on by the American Heart Association, devoted to spreading awareness about heart disease. While this yearly February campaign highlights the importance of knowing one’s risk for heart disease and the modifiable factors that can promote a heart healthy lifestyle (which we’ll discuss later), there is special emphasis on the topic of women and heart disease.
Did you know that more women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer? In fact, one in three women die of heart disease or stroke. To help share this message and make a change, the American Heart Association has made February 6th, National Wear Red Day, a way that individuals throughout the nation can show support for saving women’s lives, while reminding others to donate and to help raise funds for awareness and research.
Managing Risk Factors
There is a multiplier effect when it comes to heart disease and stroke risk: one risk factor doubles the risk, and two risk factors quadruples it. While middle-aged and senior women may be at increased risk, other risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and weight gain can be prevented or at least managed.
Smart decisions in four key areas can reduce a woman’s risk for heart disease up to 80%:
- Watch the diet. Prepare recipes with a healthy heart focus. Cut back on fatty foods and sugar. Eat moderate amounts of skinless poultry and fish, and incorporate more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat dairy (also beneficial for bone health) and low-salt foods (for managing high blood pressure).
- Get exercise. A nutritious eating plan goes hand-in-hand with getting exercise in order to manage weight and improve overall health. Physical activity is a wonderful intervention for lowering blood pressure, maintaining cholesterol levels, avoiding diabetes and lowering risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Say goodbye to stress. It is important for women to understand how stress affects them so they can properly cope with it and develop health habits to decrease overall stress levels. By identifying and understanding triggers at home and at work, it will be easier to create a plan for how to respond and say goodbye to stress.
- Quit smoking. We all know that smoking is bad for our health, however studies show that those who quit are able to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease to the level of those of non-smokers in less than 15 years after quitting.
Senior and older women should also keep a close eye on underlying health conditions. Be sure blood pressure and cholesterol medications are taken as prescribed. Diabetics should regularly test their blood sugar levels. Also, take an inventory of other health concerns and talk to a doctor about problems sleeping or feeling unusually tired, depressed or stressed, which may also signal heart risks.
If you or a loved one are interested in living a more heart-healthy lifestyle, learn more about in-home care from Home Care Assistance of Douglas County. Our professional and compassionate caregivers provide live-in and part-time care in Douglas County, and are trained in how to help seniors achieve a balanced lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, social ties and calmness and purpose. Call a friendly Care Manager today at 720-441-3522 and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.