Atherosclerosis: Prevention Through the Ages
No matter your age, try these steps to prevent hardening of the arteries.
Preventing Atherosclerosis: In Your 40s and 50s continued...
Exercise: If you've been sedentary most of your life, you don't need
to run marathons to get a benefit. Any activity is better than none.
- Start slow and work up to 30 minutes of walking daily.
- Take the stairs. Walk up one flight, or down two.
- At the grocery store, park the car at the far end of the lot and walk.
- Take an extra lap around the mall before heading home.
Diet: Ask each member of your family to choose a favorite (or
least-hated) vegetable. Rotate through everyone's favorite at dinnertime. Toss
in a salad, and you're well on your way to reducing your atherosclerosis
Cut back on the red meat, as well. Keep meat portions small (the size of a
deck of cards). Lean, skinless poultry is a great choice.
Don't use the excuse, "at my age, changing my lifestyle won't make any
difference." In fact, adopting a healthy lifestyle in middle age reduces
the risk of death from atherosclerosis by two-thirds
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!