Use Heart Month to Help Senior Loved Ones Reduce Heart Disease Risk

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Senior Care Corner celebrates American Heart Month this February by helping caregivers and other family members of seniors to learn about the risk factors they can address to make positive changes to their own heart health and that of senior loved ones.

Senior Care Corner

“Addressing the risk factors that are controllable can improve our chances against heart disease” says Kathy Birkett of Senior Care Corner. “There's no time better than now to help our senior loved ones make the changes needed, or to do so ourselves.

Heart disease strikes down far too many people, young and old. Senior Care Corner wants everyone to know as much as possible so families can protect their senior loved ones – and themselves.

Senior Care Corner celebrates American Heart Month this February by helping caregivers and other family members of seniors to learn about the risk factors they can address to make positive changes to their own heart health and that of senior loved ones.

Some heart disease risk factors can’t be controlled, such as age, family history and gender. Other factors can be addressed to reduce the risk of heart disease for senior loved ones and their families, including:

  •     High blood pressure
  •     High cholesterol/triglyceride levels
  •     Diabetes
  •     Being overweight or obese
  •     Smoker
  •     Physically inactive
  •     Lack of good eating habits
  •     High stress levels

“Addressing the risk factors that are controllable can improve our chances against heart disease,” says Kathy Birkett, registered dietitian and Senior Care Corner co-founder. “There is no time better than now to help our senior loved ones make the changes needed or to do so ourselves.”

  •     Monitor blood pressure and reduce salt intake. Be sure senior loved ones fill prescriptions from their doctors for blood pressure medication – and take it!
  •     Know your cholesterol and triglyceride levels and find out from your doctor if any need improvement. A heart healthy diet can help, but sometimes medications are needed.
  •     With a direct link between diabetes and heart disease, knowing your blood sugar level and controlling it with a heart healthy diet may be enough. Your health care team can help you know what actions are best for you – and your senior loved ones.
  •     Manage your weight. Can it be said enough? Control portion sizes and limit those between-meal snacks and sugary drinks. Being physically active helps, of course.
  •     Heart disease is yet another reason not to be a smoker.
  •     Fighting heart disease is also yet another reason to become more physically active. Your senior loved ones should seek medical advice before starting regular physical activity.
  •     Most people already know the changes they should make to improve eating habits. More fruits and vegetables, higher in fiber, lower in saturated and trans fats, less salt and sugar.
  •     Learn to limit and handle stress. It may feel like stress improves performance but that’s often not true health-wise.

For more tips and discussion, check out Senior Care Corner's recent podcast, which is also available on iTunes.

Helping senior loved ones to change habits and make improvements on those risk factors can, in many cases, reduce their risk of heart disease – as it can for younger family members too.

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Kathy Birkett
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