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How to maintain heart health, for all ages

How to maintain heart health, for all ages

Different age groups may need age-specific care to keep their hearts healthy

By Siddhi Jain

March 20, 2020 (IANSlife) Heart diseases are one of the leading causes of ill health and mortality in India, but with some precaution, keeping your heart healthy is not all that difficult.

“Cardiac ailments killed more Indians in 2016 (28 percent) than any other non-communicable disease. Its prevalence is increasing in developing countries like India,” says Dr. Punish Sadana, Principal Consultant, Department of Cardiology, Max Hospital, Dehradun.

Here are a few common factors that contribute to cardiovascular diseases in all age groups: unhealthy eating, being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes. smoking/alcohol use, and depression.

No matter what your age, everyone can benefit from lifestyle changes.

As per the doctor, you should eat heart-healthy. Choose a healthy eating plan. The foods you eat may decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. Choose foods low in saturated fat, trans-fat, and sodium. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, fish, nuts, legumes, and seeds. In general, red meats such as beef, pork, and lamb, have more saturated fat than chicken or fish, limiting the same. Select low fat dairy products such as Greek yogurt, skimmed milk, and cottage cheese. Limit your sugar intake by drinking sugar-free beverages.

Getting physically active also helps. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. This can include brisk walks, swimming, bicycling, jump rope, etc.

Kids

  • Limit kids’ screen time. If they spend all their time watching TV/phones and sitting in front of the computers now, they are likely to do the same thing as adults.
  • Schedule a time for meals and stick to it.
  • Get some exercise as a family.
  • Assign active chores to kids.

 

Adolescents

  • Find a doctor and have regular wellness exams.
  • Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Tame your stress. Learning stress management techniques not only benefits your body, but also your quality of life.

 

Adults

  • Juggling family and career leaves many adults with little time to worry about their hearts. Know your family history. Having a related family member with heart disease increases your risk as well.
  • Attain a healthy weight. You may notice your metabolism slows down in your 40s. Avoid weight gain by following a heart-healthy diet. It is also crucial to get plenty of exercise. 
  • Check your blood sugar level.
  • Know the warning signs of a heart attack.

 

Elderly

With age comes an increased risk for heart disease. Your blood pressure, cholesterol and other heart-related numbers tend to rise. Take care of them. Exercising regularly and eating smaller portions of nutrient-rich foods may help you maintain a healthy weight.

 

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Siddhi Jain can be contacted at siddhi.j@ians.in