(FORT WORTH, Texas – Feb. 11, 2019) — Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease. During American Heart Month, Care N’ Care Health Plan is encouraging older adults to take these five steps toward a healthier heart:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease. Even being slightly overweight (10-20 pounds for a person of average height) increases your risk. If overeating is a problem, pay attention to why you are eating; and try to reduce those triggers.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. Food choices greatly impact your chance of developing heart disease. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, which can help control weight and blood pressure. Oily fish like salmon, trout and herring contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Choose lean meats and poultry without skin, and cook them without added butter or oil. There are lots of cookbooks that focus on heart-healthy eating, and the Care N’ Care website provides members with healthy recipes to try.
- Get some exercise. A lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for heart disease. Not only does exercise make your heart stronger and work more efficiently, it helps burn calories. Healthy adults should be getting at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Walking is the easiest, low-cost way to be active. All it takes is a good pair of shoes and a willingness to engage. If you are in doubt, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
- Stop smoking. Cigarette smokers are two to three times more likely to die from coronary heart disease than nonsmokers. Smoking increases blood pressure, decreases exercise tolerance and “good” cholesterol, and increases the tendency for blood to clot.
- Learn the signs of a heart attack. Heart attacks can come on suddenly and intensely but can also start slowly with just mild pain or discomfort. Women often don’t have the same signs as men. Early signs are often dismissed because people don’t realize what is happening to them. Call 9-1-1 if you experience chest discomfort (may feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain), discomfort in other areas of the upper body (one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach), or shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort (may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness), and women may also experience nausea or vomiting.Even if you’re not sure, have it checked out. Fast treatment can make a lifesaving difference.
“American Heart Month provides the perfect opportunity to learn more about keeping your heart, and yourself, in good health,” says Care N’ Care’s Chief Medical Officer David Sand, M.D. “If you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, lifestyle changes can still improve the quality and length of your life. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed, following these simple steps is an easy way to increase your chances of staying healthy and being able to live life to its fullest. Remember, small adjustments to your daily activities can have a positive impact on your health. So start slowly, and give yourself credit for your progress—don’t try to do this all at once. And, of course, if you have any questions, check with your own doctor.”
Care N’ Care is a local Medicare Advantage health plan providing North Texas Medicare beneficiaries in Tarrant, Johnson, Dallas, Collin, Denton, Rockwall, Hood, Wise and Parker counties affordable alternatives that improve and simplify Medicare coverage. With both PPO and HMO health plans, Care N’ Care offers all of the traditional benefits included in original Medicare plus additional benefits and services, including a personal Healthcare Concierge to serve as the single point of contact and trusted partner throughout the member’s healthcare experience. For more information about Care N’ Care and its Medicare Advantage health plans, visit cnchealthplan.com.
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