Beat a Bum Ticker

That’s how an older generation, maybe your grandparents, might describe a heart condition or problem of one of their contemporaries. Of course, “older” and “heart condition” are mutually inclusive terms. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the risk of heart disease increases for men after age 45 and for women after age 55. Age is the most prevalent risk factor for heart disease and heart disease is the leading cause of death in people older than 65. Changes in the heart and blood vessels occur with age. Normally, the heart pumps blood to supply all parts of the body. But, an older heart may not pump blood as effectively.

Common heart ailments include:

  • Angina, chest pain from insufficient blood flow to the heart
  • Arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation, also known as abnormal heart rhythms
  • Hardening of the arteries, a deposit of fatty plaque inside the blood vessels causing them to narrow and cause blockages. Coronary artery disease is a result of hardening of the arteries.
  • Heart attacks caused by blood clots that block a coronary artery
  • Heart valve diseases where the heart valves do not open or close properly
  • Blood clots, within the heart or other blood vessels.

What You Can Do to Prevent a Bum Ticker

  • Monitor, watch and control your blood pressure, cholesterol and weight as directed by your doctor
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet with low amounts of saturated fat
  • Exercise will help you to lose weight and control your blood sugar if you have diabetes. Exercise is also a great stress reliever. Stress is another factor that can cause heart disease. Speak with your doctor about starting an exercise program. The doctor will help you devise an exercise program that is moderate and within your ability.
  • Have regular heart checkups, including blood pressure and cholesterol checks and other screenings