World Heart Day 2018: How to prevent heart disease in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond

Cardiovascular disease claims over 17.5 million lives each year. This World Heart Day, September 29, take these steps to prevent heart disease in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world’s biggest killer, claiming over 17.5 million lives each year

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world’s biggest killer, claiming over 17.5 million lives each year  |  Photo Credit: Thinkstock

New Delhi: Heart disease can affect anyone, including young children. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world’s biggest killer, claiming over 17.5 million lives each year. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate. Your lifestyle choices can hugely influence your health, including your heart health. Yes, it’s true that you can’t change or modify some risk factors for CVD like a family history of a heart disease, sex or age, but there are many preventive steps you can take to reduce your risk and keep your ticker in top condition. On World Heart Day, September 29, the World Heart Federation (WHF) is raising awareness about heart health while also urging people to make a promise to eat more healthily, to get more active, and say no to smoking.

By adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can avoid or reduce your risk of developing a heart problem in the future. The good news is it’s never too late to embark on a healthy lifestyle, even in your 50s, 60s and beyond. Making small changes to your daily routine can positively affect your overall health in the long run, helping you live a long and fruitful life. In this article, we are going to tell you how you can take care of your heart age-wise and prevent cardiovascular diseases. 

Heart health in your 20s

Remember, the habits that you invest during these years will lay the foundation of your later life. Those healthy habits that you’ve established now will go a long way in keeping your heart healthy, enabling you to lead a good active life into your 60s and 70s. One of the best things you can do in your 20s is to embrace a healthy lifestyle.

  • For instance, replace junk foods with whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein (grilled chicken, not fried), etc. Swap out sodas with water, which is calorie free.
  • Avoid a sedentary life, instead, make exercise a part of your daily life.
  • Do not indulge in unhealthy habits, such as smoking, alcohol, drugs, etc.
  • Limit your screen time.

Heart health in your 30s and 40s

You may be absorbed with your job and family responsibilities, but you shouldn’t ignore your health or put your wellbeing on the back burner. Don’t visit your doctor only when you fall ill.

  • Arrange for an annual check-up while in good health. This will help you know your numbers – blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, BMI – and whether they are in a normal range.
  • Manage stress by doing some yoga or deep breathing exercises.
  • Practice regular bedtime to help you get an adequate amount of sleep each night.
  • Make time for fitness – try adding 20 to 30 minutes of brisk walking to your everyday routine. This will not only help lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer but will also control your weight.
  • According to the World Health Organisation, healthy adults aged 18-64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (such as walking or swimming) in a week to stay fit.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables and eliminate sugary beverages.
  • Limit your intake of red meat, which is high in saturated fats.
  • If you smoke, quit smoking and avoid binge drinking to reduce the risk of heart disease and other health problems.
  • Manage your risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes, etc.

Heart health in your 50s, 60s and beyond

We all know that the older you get, the higher your risk for cardiovascular disease is. Hence, CVD impacts your ability to live a productive life as you age. It affects your ability to work in middle age. For women, changes in the body during menopause can raise the risk for certain health problems, including osteoporosis and heart disease.

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet that can reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Exercise regularly to avoid carrying excess weight, especially around the middle, and reduce your risk of heart disease – if you haven’t been able to include exercise in your daily routine, now is the time to make time for fitness. The 50s and 60s is the time when people tend to pile on the pounds, and heart disease risk factors appear. However, check with your doctor before starting any fitness program, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions. This is very important because your heart might be weak and in need of care during these years.
  • Manage stress and get enough quality sleep.
  • Get regular health checkups done to detect any possible underlying risk factors.
  • Manage your health conditions – high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes.

Whatever your age is, taking steps to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease is worth the effort.


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