In your 40s
You are in the prime of your life but don’t take your health for granted. An unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and long hours at work coupled with the stress of meetings deadlines could easily take a toll on your heart.
- Check your blood glucose levels. Blood vessels are damaged by high levels of sugar in the blood and this can lead to other complications as well.
- Watch your weight. Your metabolism is starting to slow down in your 40s so ensure that you maintain a healthy weight with a heart-healthy diet and plenty of exercise. Pick up a sport you enjoy and indulge in it at least 3 times a week.
- Quit smoking. This is the best thing you can do for your heart because smoking increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke. The chemicals in tobacco smoke, even second-hand smoke, damage the heart and blood vessels and increase your risk of atherosclerosis.
In your 50s
The effects of past lifestyle habits are starting to catch up with you now. If you have not been taking good care of your heart, your risk of heart problems will increase at this age.
- Continue to eat healthy and exercise regularly.
- Don’t ignore unusual symptoms such as insomnia, snoring or chronic fatigue. Snoring can be due to sleep apnea, a condition where you stop breathing during sleep because your airway is briefly blocked and this condition is linked to heart disease.
- Know the symptoms of a heart attack and stroke as prompt treatment can save your life.
In your 60s and beyond
As you enter your 60s, you still need to maintain your heart health, because with increased age comes an increased risk of heart disease.
- Keep moving –
Physical activity is still important for a healthy heart. If you prefer to take it slow, brisk walking for as little as 10 minutes a day can still contribute to keeping your heart in shape. Even doing household chores or choosing to take the stairs count towards a healthy heart.
- Manage chronic conditions –
Follow the directions of your doctor and always adhere to your medication schedule. Keeping conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure under control goes a long way in preventing heart attack or a stroke.
- Manage your stress level –
Research has shown that people who often lose their temper are nearly three times more likely to suffer from premature heart disease and five times more likely to suffer from a heart attack! Rather than depend on alcohol or emotional eating to cope with stress, turn to heart-friendly ways such as exercise or other healthy social activities.
- Know your risks –
For women, the risks of having a heart attack increases after menopause. The good news is that you can fight it by choosing a heart-friendly lifestyle. Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean meats and fish which is rich in omega-3. Stay active and seek medical attention if you experience any unusual symptoms.