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Caring for Your Heart in Care Homes

February is American Heart Month! Your heart is one of the most important vital organs you have in your body. It’s important to take care of your heart at any age, especially as you grow older. We have some heart health tips for you to follow whether you live independently or in care homes.

Tips for Heart Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly one in two adults has high blood pressure, however only one in four has it under control. We have some tips to improve blood pressure and live a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is key to having a healthy heart. Eat more fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and whole grains, and less salt, saturated fat, and sugar.

Some of the best foods for your heart include leafy green vegetables such as spinach and collard greens. Whole grains such as brown rice and oats are good for you too. Berries including strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries have antioxidants and are heart-healthy. Avocados are rich in monosaturated fats and potassium!

Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and even sardines are loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids which protect the heart from disease. Walnuts and almonds are rich in fiber and nutrients such as magnesium, copper, and manganese. Olive oil, garlic, beans, and tomatoes also have heart disease-preventative properties.

Whether you live at your own home, or in care homes, heart-healthy eating is important.

Know Your Health History

It’s important to understand if you have a family history of heart disease including high blood pressure and cholesterol. Having a family member with a history of heart disease does make it more likely for you to develop it as well. Knowledge is power and can help you get a baseline for normal and track your health as you grow older. Don’t skip your annual physicals and bloodwork!

Move Your Body

Sitting for eight or more hours per day can increase your risk of heart disease by 20%. Get as much exercise as you can. This can include walking around your neighborhood, at the mall, or at a gym. It can also include fitness classes with a focus on cardio, and strength training. Talk to your primary care provider about what kind of exercise would be the best for you. At The Cedars, we provide access to our fitness center and therapy pool for residents and offer memberships to the community. You can call us at 620-241-0919 ext. 110 for more information.

Quit Smoking

Smoking can raise the triglycerides in your blood and lower your good cholesterol. Additionally, cigarettes make your blood “sticky” which can cause clotting and block blood flow to the heart and your brain. Smoking can damage the cells that line your blood vessels and cause the thickening and narrowing of blood vessels. Finally, smoking can cause a buildup of plaque in your blood vessels. Quitting smoking is an excellent start to a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Take Your Medicine

If you have been prescribed medication for your blood pressure, cholesterol, or for diabetes, you must take your medicine as directed. Stopping medications suddenly can cause negative effects on your body, so talk to your physician if you have questions or concerns about your medication.

Watch What You Drink

Sodas and alcohol should be consumed in limited amounts. Drink water as your main beverage throughout the day. Water will help your body stay hydrated, support blood vessel function and help the heart pump more efficiently.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure

Purchasing an at-home blood pressure monitor is a great way to keep track of your heart health. When you have accurate notes about your blood pressure, your doctor can have a better idea of what you may need for treatments.

Care for Your Heart

Care for your heart every day, and not just during heart month. If you have questions about your heart health, contact your primary care provider. If you’re looking for a care home community to help support your health goals as you age, contact The Cedars!

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