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NS Seniors: Heart Health

Posted Apr 16, 2017

When we speak of cardiovascular disease, it is a vast field of diseases related to our hearts and our vessels & veins as well as the blood pumping through them.

Coronary Artery Disease is the #1 cause of death in world – and it’s 90% preventable. We can do nothing about our genetic influences but we can certainly make changes in our lifestyle that will help prevent its’ onset and/or progression.

Coronary Artery Disease is a class of diseases that include Stroke, Heart Attack, Angina, Hypertensive Heart Disease, Rheumatic Heart Disease, Aortic Aneurysms, Venous Thrombosis…  and these are only a few on long list.

Atherosclerosis is the underlying cause for many of these diseases – this is, essentially, a build up of plaque in the veins that causes them to thicken. This reduces blood flow and, in the worst cases, blocks it altogether. Causes of atherosclerosis include high blood pressure, diabetes, poor diet, lack of activity, smoking, and excessive alcohol use.

Other forms of CVD include valve problems, congenital defects, carditis (inflammation of the heart) among others.

It always seems a daunting quest to “change your lifestyle”. People say it like it’s nothing. This is why we often wait until a major event before we realize that we have to do something and hope we still have time.  You do… and it’s never too late to start.

Consider changing up your diet to be healthier and adding in daily exercise. Start with a couple of the easier things – switching to lean meats like chicken or taking a walk around the block every day.

After a month or two, make another change… add high fat (yes, high fat) fish – salmon or trout, among others – to your diet twice a week. C’mon – not so bad – salmon sandwiches, trout on the BBQ – my mouth is watering already. Make sure you add some fruit in the morning and some good green lettuce in that salmon sandwich. Walk two blocks a day.

After getting used to that, if you haven’t already, start cutting back the dangerous white stuff – salt, sugar, white bread, etc.

Enjoy cream in your coffee and an occasional ice cream cone – you must still enjoy your food and certain things can remain unchanged if you make the changes elsewhere.

Soon enough, you will never be able to eat the fats and sugars that you did before – you will be astounded at how much you don’t want them anymore. You’ll wonder how you could eat all that junk in the first place.  You will also enjoy your outings so much, you will not want to give them up. The healthier you get, the more you will strive to be healthier yet.

Here’s a hook to a list of heart healthy foods and dietary choices on WebMD

Enjoy and take pride in your new and health!

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