Atherosclerosis: Prevention Through the Ages
No matter your age, try these steps to prevent hardening of the arteries.
Preventing Atherosclerosis: In Your 60s and Up
The near- and post-retirement years should be a time to enjoy oneself. But
it's also a time to think about health risks. The No. 1 threat by far, for both
men and women, is atherosclerosis.
The rates of atherosclerosis complications skyrocket after age 65. For
example, 85% of deaths from atherosclerosis occur in this age group. But you
can reduce this risk dramatically by making changes to your routine.
Risk factors: A large number of people in this age group will need
medicines to treat high blood pressure and cholesterol. These medicines make a
profound difference, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis dramatically.
Despite the known benefits, studies show that many people stop taking
cholesterol medicines after several months, increasing their risk
unnecessarily. Don't be one of them. Discuss any concerns with your doctor, and
stick with your treatment plan.
Exercise: Exercise has a stronger beneficial effect in older age than
ever before. Find an exercise buddy, roust your spouse off the couch, or start
a neighborhood walking club, but get moving!
Atherosclerosis starts early and progresses throughout life. You can't see
or feel it, but in most of us the process is already under way.
The plaques of atherosclerosis can grow to become blood vessel blockages. If
a plaque ruptures, the sudden blood clot causes a heart attack or stroke.
Atherosclerosis is common, unpredictable, and potentially deadly. Is there
any good news? Because atherosclerosis takes decades to progress, the process
can be slowed down at any point, reducing the risk.
Regardless of your age, there are specific steps you can take to slow down
atherosclerosis. Take a moment to consider what changes you can make today, to
protect your arteries later.
Preventing Atherosclerosis: Suitable for All Ages
And the single best way to reduce your risk of atherosclerosis, at any age:
don't smoke! If you do smoke, see your doctor: New treatments are available
that make it easier to quit.