Heart disease is the chief cause of death among both men and women above the age of 65 followed closely by cancer according to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.
The risk of developing heart disease increases as you age. The CDC approximates that heart disease affects 25% of women and 37% of men above the age of 65.
Why is Heart Disease So Prevalent Among the Elderly?
Changes in the heart and blood vessels usually occur as one ages. According to research, these accelerate as one ages. Normally because they occur of a long period, these changes go un-noticed for a long time.
One such change is arthrosclerosis that damages to the cardiovascular system. Atherosclerosis results from overtime build up of plaque in the coronary arteries preventing blood from flowing normally. This stiffens and thickens the arterial wall leading to increased blood pressure.
Another reason why heart disease is prevalent among the elderly is that as one ages, the normal functioning of the heart is affected by the reduction in elasticity and the ability to respond to changes in pressure of the arterial system. This consequently leads to increased workload for the heart.
What Factors Contribute To Heart Disease?
Heart disease occurs due to a number of risk factors.
Risk factors you cannot control
- Age: As you age, the chances of developing heart disease and stroke increase. While strokes can happen at any age, records show that people above the age of 65 are at a higher risk.
- Gender: According to the CDC, postmenopausal women (above 55) and men above the age of 45 are more prone to developing heart disease.
- Genetics and family history: Family members share traits, behaviors, and lifestyle that can affect their health and increase their risk of contracting a certain disease. These traits can be transferred from one generation to the next. The risk of a heart disease can grow even higher if heredity merges with unhealthy lifestyle.
- Race or ethnicity: First Nations people, non-Hispanic whites, and African Americans are at a greater risk of developing heart disease than the rest of the population.
- Prior stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack): If you have had a previous history of stroke, you are at a higher risk of having a heart disease or stroke.
Risk factors you can control
- Smoking: Cigarettes contain nicotine and carbon monoxide. These chemical substances constrict your blood vessels making them more vulnerable to atherosclerosis.
- Poor diet: Eating a diet that’s rich in cholesterol, sugar, fat, and salt can highly add to the development of heart disease.
- High blood pressure: If your blood pressure is not checked regularly, it might result in heart disease or a stroke.
- Obesity: Excessive weight, which is normally caused by poor diet, can typically worsen other conditions.
- Stress: Unmitigated stress can harm your blood vessels and worsen other risk factors.
- Other factors: High blood-cholesterol levels and diabetes.
Preventative Measures That You Can Take To Reduce Heart Disease
Taking extra steps can help reduce your chances of developing heart disease.
- Choose a healthy eating plan: The foods you eat dictate a lot about your chances of developing heart disease. Choose foods that are low in sodium and fat. As part of the plan, consider eating food rich in fiber, plenty of fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, and meals without meat. Limit sugary foods.
- Physical activity: Physical workouts can help you maintain low cholesterol levels, sugar, and weight. For adults it’s recommended that you work up to at a minimum 2.5-hours of medium intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking or cycling every week.
- Watch Your Weight: As you age, your body required very few calories. Being overweight causes your heart overwork and increases the risk of heart disease. Regular exercising and eating nutrient-rich foods will help you sustain a healthy weight.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol: If you don’t smoke do not start. If you do, quit. Also, if you drink alcohol reduce or stop.
- Blood pressure management: Keep yours in check by checking your lifestyle and proper medication.
Why Visit A Cardiologist
A cardiologist is a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating heart related problems. Regularly seeing a cardiologist can help avoid developing any serious heart related issues. A cardiologist can help develop and give recommendations of your current health situation and draw out a plan that will help you stay risk free of heart disease.
If you have been diagnosed with a heart condition, have a history of heart attract, or are simply for screening, book an appointment at Boulevard Medical Healthcare. Our cardiologists are highly experienced and will be pleased to guide you on the road to a happy, healthy heart.