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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.

Reviewed on December 04, 2007

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