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Ways To Improve Cardiovascular Health – What You Should Know
As you grow older, it becomes more and more important to stay healthy. Preventative measures should be taken before the body begins to decline at age 50. Moderate exercise can also improve the vascular system’s function and shrinks blood vessels around the heart. A lack of activity can lead to poor circulation as well as weight gain. The same diet with a higher intake of whole grains, leafy vegetables, beans, and other fiber-rich foods will help with weight loss or maintenance. Alcohol consumption should be kept in check as it can have harmful effects on the heart and increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.
There are also certain medications that should be taken regularly to improve cardiovascular health. They should be prescribed by a doctor and taken exactly as directed to avoid negative side effects. Some of the most popular medications include Aspirin, Lisinopril, Warfarin, Furosemide, Digoxin, Amlodipine, Bisoprolol Fumarate monohydrate, Metoprolol tartrate, and Aliskiren.
Moderate exercise should be encouraged for older adults. Membership at a nearby fitness center or exercise classes are good ways to do this. If you prefer a more solitary approach, swimming is a good choice due to its low impact on the joints and muscles.
Physical activity in general helps the heart work more effectively and reduces stress throughout the body. Exercise opposes many of the effects of aging and is one of the best ways to maintain your health as you get older.
In addition to exercise and a healthy diet, women should also take calcium-based supplements every day as an added precaution against osteoporosis that affects older women more than men.
Certain medications can help you maintain circulation and improve blood flow to the heart. The most common of these drugs are beta-blockers, such as Lopressor or Inderal. A beta-blocker is used to treat high blood pressure by slowing down the heart and lowering the pressure in the arteries.
The elderly should also take medications for cholesterol control, which reduces plaque buildup in the arteries. Statins (such as Lipitor) can lower cholesterol levels very effectively. Another drug known as simvastatin, which has been shown to have a similar effect on cholesterol levels, is also available.
In 40% of seniors treated with statins, cholesterol levels drop significantly.
Another medication that has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks is clopidogrel or Plavix. This medication keeps the blood platelets from clumping together in the blood vessels. Clotting and clotting are part of normal healing, but when they occur in a vein or artery it can cause a blockage that leads to a heart attack or stroke.
Blood thinners include warfarin (Coumadin) and aspirin (Bayer). Warfarin is usually only used if a person has been injured and taken out of the hospital too quickly (within 72 hours), or if they’ve had a recent blood clot. Warfarin is not recommended for people who have recently suffered an injury or surgery, because it can cause bleeding in the stomach or intestines. Not all people with heart disease are candidates for these drugs.
Spironolactone is a “kidney and liver protector” drug that helps prevent fluid build-up in the blood vessels (pump failure), which can lead to thrombosis or clotting. It is also used to treat people who have had a heart attack.
Nifedipine is a calcium channel blocker that works by relaxing the muscles around the blood vessels, which decreases blood pressure.
If you think you need medications for heart disease, your primary care physician can ensure that they are safe for you and determine if they work for your specific condition. If you’re about to have any surgery, it’s important to tell your doctor about all of the medications you take (including over-the-counter medications), even if they aren’t prescribed by a doctor. Certain antibiotics can increase bleeding and require doctors to stop the medication so there’s no interaction with the anesthesia during surgery.
Physical activity can also improve your cardiovascular health.
Exercise should be structured and enjoyable. It is great to join a walking group or a running club as it encourages you to continue exercising even when you are tired. Music is a great motivator!
For more serious exercise, some people like to use stationary bicycles, treadmills, rowing machines, or elliptical trainers at the gym. Others prefer to swim laps or run on treadmills in their home. The best activity for you will be the one that you can do consistently. You can also participate in sports such as tennis, golf, bowling, softball, and baseball. In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, making sure you eat a healthy diet will help reduce your risk of many common diseases and conditions.
Exercise is also important for people with heart problems. It can improve blood flow to the heart and provides stress relief, which improves the function of the heart.
For some people with heart disease, intense exercise may be contraindicated (not recommended) because of other medical conditions they have or side effects from certain medications they take. It is important to check with your doctor before starting any kind of exercise program if you have heart disease to make sure it’s appropriate for you.
People with heart problems should exercise under a doctor’s supervision. If you are taking medication for your heart, it is important to discuss how to safely adjust your medications with your doctor.
Like any other chronic disease, heart disease can affect a person mentally and emotionally. People often feel afraid after they are diagnosed with heart disease, especially if they are having chest pain or shortness of breath (or other symptoms). It is important to remember that although it may not always feel like it, many people with heart disease lead full lives with little limitation from the condition. Fear and anxiety can be relieved by learning more about the diagnosis and talking to friends and family about it.
Having a heart attack or being diagnosed with a condition such as atrial fibrillation can be devastating. It is important to learn as much as possible about the disease and how it may affect the rest of your life. Many people find that they need to adjust their lifestyle, diet, and finances in order to manage their condition. This is sometimes referred to as “care management”. In many cases, individuals have to make some basic changes, such as having fewer fatty foods and more fresh fruits and vegetables. Other adjustments may include treating depression, stress reduction, or relaxation techniques such as yoga or tai chi chuan.
Up to 80 percent of people with heart conditions report symptoms that interfere with their daily lives. These symptoms can include fatigue, chest pain, trouble sleeping, and/or depression. Some of these signs and symptoms are related to the underlying condition and can be treated with medications or counseling. Other signs and symptoms may be related to a person’s attitude or outlook on life (see Heart-Healthy Lifestyle)
Like other chronic conditions, heart disease requires careful planning. This includes long-term planning as well as short-term planning for emergencies such as surgery, a heart attack, or worsening of the condition. Monthly checkups are important for tracking whether treatment is working and for finding out about new developments in treatments or medications.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only and should not be used instead of or contrary to that of a medical professional. Before taking supplements, starting a new diet, or embarking on a new exercise regime please consult a medical or nutritional professional. The owners of “Getting Healthy After 50” are not medical professionals and are simply redistributing information that is freely available on the internet.