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Preventing Heart Disease – At Any Age American Heart Association

You’re never too young— or too old — to take care of your heart.

Multi-Generational Family Outdoor Portrait

 

Preventing heart disease (and allcardiovascular diseases) means making smart choices now that will pay off the rest of your life.

Lack of exercise, a poor diet and other bad habits can take their toll over the years. Anyone at any age can benefit from simple steps to keep their heart healthy during each decade of life. Here’s how:

All Age Groups
No matter what your age, everyone can benefit from a healthy diet and adequate physical activity.

  • Choose a healthy eating plan.  The food you eat can decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.  Choose foods low in saturated fat, trans fatcholesterolsodium and added sugars and sweeteners.  As part of a healthy diet, eat plenty of fruits and vegetablesfiber-rich whole grainsfish (preferably oily fish — at least twice per week), nuts, legumes and seeds.  Also try eating some meals without meat.  Select fat-free and low-fat dairy products and lean meats and poultry (skinless).  Limit sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Be physically active.  You can slowly work up to at least 2½ hours (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (like brisk walking) every week or an hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity (such as jogging or running) or a combination of both every week. Additionally, on two or more days a week you need muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest shoulders and arms).

In Your 20s
Getting smart about your heart early on puts you far ahead of the curve. The things you do — and don’t — are a tell-tale sign of how long and how well you’re going to live, said Richard Stein, M.D. “There’s no one I know who said: ‘I felt better being sedentary. I felt better eating a terrible diet,’” said Stein, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine. “All these things actually make you feel better while they help you.”

  • Find a doctor and have regular wellness exams. Healthy people need doctors, too. Establishing a relationship with a physician means you can start heart-health screenings now. Talk to your doctor about your diet, lifestyle and checking your blood pressurecholesterolheart ratebody mass index and waist circumference. You may also need your blood sugar checked if you are pregnant, overweight or havediabetes. Knowing where your numbers stand early makes it easier to spot a possible change in the future.
  • Be physically active. It’s a lot easier to be active and stay active if you start at a young age. “If you’re accustomed to physical activity, you’ll sustain it,” Dr. Stein said. Keep your workout routine interesting by mixing it up and finding new motivators.
  • Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. If you picked up smoking as a teen, it’s time to quit smoking. Even exposure to secondhand smoke poses a serious health hazard. Nonsmokers are up to 30 percent more likely to develop heart disease or lung cancer from secondhand smoke exposure at home or work, according to a U.S. Surgeon General report.

In Your 30s
Juggling family and career leaves many adults with little time to worry about their hearts. Here are some ways to balance all three.

  • Make heart-healthy living a family affair. Create and sustain heart-healthy habits in your kids and you’ll reap the benefits, too. Spend less time on the couch and more time on the move. Explore a nearby park on foot or bike. Shoot some hoops or walk the dog. Plant a vegetable and fruit garden together in the yard, and invite your kids into the kitchen to help cook.
  • Know your family history. Shake your family tree to learn about heart health. Having a relative with heart disease increases your risk, especially if the relative is a parent or sibling. That means you need to focus on risk factors you can control by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, not smoking and eating right. Also, keep your doctor informed about any heart problems you learn about in your family.
  • Tame your stress. Long-term stress causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure that may damage the artery walls. Learning stress management techniques benefits your body and your quality of life. Try deep breathing exercises and find time each day to do something you enjoy. Giving back through volunteering also does wonders for knocking out stress.

In Your 40s
If heart health hasn’t been a priority, don’t worry. Healthy choices you make now can strengthen your heart for the long haul. Understand why you need to make lifestyle changes and have the confidence to make them. Then, tackle them one at a time. “Each success makes you more confident to take on the next one,” said Dr. Stein, who is also an American Heart Association volunteer.

  • Watch your weight. In your 40s, your metabolism starts slowing down. But you can avoid weight gain by following a heart-healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise. The trick is to find a workout routine you enjoy. If you need motivation to get moving, find a workout buddy or join American Heart Association Walking Paths and Walking Clubs.
  • Have your blood sugar level checked. In addition to blood pressure checks and other heart-health screenings, you should have a fasting blood glucose test by the time you’re 45. This first test serves as a baseline for future tests, which you should have every three years. Testing may be done earlier or more often if you are overweight, diabetic or at risk for becoming diabetic.
  • Don’t brush off snoring. Listen to your sleeping partner’s complaints about your snoring. One in five adults has at least mild sleep apnea, a condition that causes pauses in breathing during sleep. If not properly treated, sleep apnea can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

In Your 50s
Unlike the emergence of wrinkles and gray hair, what you can’t see as you get older is the impact aging has on your heart. So starting in the 50s, you need to take extra steps.

In Your 60s+
With age comes an increased risk for heart disease. Your blood pressure, cholesterol and other heart-related numbers tend to rise. Watching your numbers closely and managing any health problems that arise — along with the requisite healthy eating and exercise — can help you live longer and better.

  • Have an ankle-brachial index test. Starting in your 60s, an ankle-brachial index test should be done every one to two years as part of a physical exam. The test assesses the pulses in the feet to help diagnoseperipheral artery disease (PAD), a lesser-known cardiovascular disease in which plaque builds up in the leg arteries.
  • Watch your weight. Your body burns fewer calories as you get older. Excess weight causes your heart to work harder and increases the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Exercising regularly and eating smaller portions of nutrient-rich foods may help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke. Heart attack symptoms in women can be different than men. Knowing when you’re having a heart attack or stroke means you’re more likely to get immediate help. Quick treatment can save your life and prevent serious disability.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/Preventing-Heart-Disease—At-Any-Age_UCM_442925_Article.jsp

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Do You Know Your Neck Size? Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease, Stroke

Woman With Sleep Apnea

You know about taking your measurements for clothing.  And you may have heard about waist size for health.  (From  Dr. Oz:   Half of men and 70% of women in the United States between the ages of 50 and 79 have waist sizes that indicate obesity. Too much of a waist can lead to heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. That’s because excess abdominal, or omentum, fat pumps out toxic chemicals that not only keep you fat but also cause inflammation that poisons your organs, especially your liver.

To maintain optimal health, your ideal waist size should be less than half your height. For the average 5’ 4” woman, waist size should measure 32 inches or less. The waist of an average 5’ 10” man should measure 35 inches or less. Use a tape measure and wrap it around your natural waist, which is not at your belt but above your hips.    http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/health-tests-could-save-your-life?page=3#copy )

But, have you ever thought of measuring your neck?  It’s very important to keep it under 17″ for men and 16″ for women.

Taken from Dr. Oz:

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Loud snoring at night
  • Interruptions in nighttime breathing
  • Abrupt awakenings followed by shortness of breath
  • Acid reflux
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Large neck size (over 17 inches for men and 16 for women)

Taken from The American Heart Association:

Plain old snoring can get a little annoying, especially for someone listening to it. But when a snorer repeatedly stops breathing for brief moments, it can lead to cardiovascular problems and potentially be life-threatening.

It’s a condition known as sleep apnea, in which the person may experience pauses in breathing five to 30 times per hour or more during sleep. These episodes wake the sleeper as he or she gasps for air. It prevents restful sleep and is associated with high blood pressure,arrhythmiastroke and heart failure.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, and stroke is the No. 4 cause and a leading cause of disability. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for both.

“The evidence is very strong for the relationship between sleep apnea and hypertension and cardiovascular disease generally, so people really need to know that,” said Donna Arnett, Ph.D., chair and professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the incoming president of the American Heart Association.

A Common Problem
One in five adults suffers from at least mild sleep apnea, and it afflicts more men than women, Dr. Arnett said. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea in which weight on the upper chest and neck contributes to blocking the flow of air. (Another type, called central sleep apnea, is far less prevalent.)

Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with obesity, which is also a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Besides obesity contributing to sleep apnea, sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea can, in an ongoing unhealthy cycle, lead to further obesity, Dr. Arnett explained.

Listen to Those Snoring Complaints
Often a roommate or sleeping partner of someone with sleep apnea notices it. “It’s really hard to detect if you live alone, unless you go through a sleep study,” Dr. Arnett said. People with sleep apnea may be more tired during the day, she said, and therefore prone to accidents or falling asleep.

Dr. Arnett told of her own family’s experience with sleep apnea. She accompanied her 73-year-old mother, Lela Arnett, on a trip to Germany and heard her make loud snorts during the night.

It got so noisy that Donna Arnett ended up sleeping in the hotel room’s bathroom with the door closed. It turns out her mother had sleep apnea and severe hypertension. Her mother knew she sometimes awoke when she took big breaths, but she didn’t realize the severity of what was happening.

Getting Proper Treatment
Woman With Sleep Apnea
Through treatment known as continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, her mother’s blood pressure stabilized. The CPAP device involves wearing a mask while sleeping.

It keeps air pressure in the breathing passages so they don’t close down. Some patients have bad reactions to the masks, Dr. Arnett said, but their design has evolved significantly, making it easier to find a suitable one.

In a sleep study, doctors count pauses in breathing to determine whether the patient has mild sleep apnea, characterized by five to 15 episodes per hour; moderate sleep apnea, defined by 15 to 30 per hour; or severe sleep apnea, meaning more than 30 each hour.

It’s certainly possible to have simple, loud snoring without sleep apnea. But with regular snoring, the person continues to inhale and exhale.

With sleep apnea, the sleeping person tends to have periods when he or she stops breathing and nothing can be heard. The good news is treatment that keeps the breathing passages open and oxygen flowing can yield fast results, Dr. Arnett said. “Blood pressure comes down really quite quickly.”

Learn more:

From:  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/Sleep-Apnea-and-Heart-Disease-Stroke_UCM_441857_Article.jsp#.T-9TtzplC_U.gmail

When You Lose Fat Graphic

From Joel Harper Fitness’ facebook page.

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