Protect Your Healthy-Heart for Life
There is no life without a healthy-heart continuously pumping oxygenated blood through-out the body. The Bible tells us that the life of the flesh is in the blood (Lev 17:11 NASB). Our heart is one of the most vital organs in the body, if not the most vital. And, I believe, the heart and the brain is the center of spirituality and love. Your healthy-heart is essential for both life and quality of life. Most of us don’t think about our hearts very often, yet we are all just one heartbeat away from eternity.
The state of our general health including heart health as we approach retirement is the result of lifestyle choices made during our life time. God determines how long we live but we have some control over the quality of that life. Our goal should be to stay healthy and independent for the entire span of our life.
Maintaining a healthy-heart is ultimately our responsibility and for most of us will require some lifestyle changes.The function of the healthy-heart is to circulate blood through-out the system to remove carbon dioxide and replenish oxygen. De-oxygenated blood flows from the body to the right atrium and from there to the right ventricle which then pumps it into the lungs. Oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the left atrium. From the left atrium the blood moves to the left ventricle which pumps it out to the body by way of the aorta.
A healthy-heart is a meticulously designed pump or more correctly a pair of pumps separated by a thick wall of muscle or septum. It is designed for continual operation for up to 100 or more years. Your heart works very hard. Depending on how fit you are, it beats about 100,000 times a day or 36 million times a year.
Because your healthy-heart works so hard, it needs a continuous supply of energy and antioxidants. It has been found that falling levels of CoQ10, L-carnitine, and magnesium accompany heart failure. CoQ10 and L-carnitine help the body produce energy. Many nutrients tend to work better together. This is true of CoQ10 and L-carnitine. Magnesium is a powerful antioxidant that can lower blood pressure and inhibit atherosclerosis. Magnesium also protects the brain and the heart from the effects of a lack of blood supply. Consult your physician before starting any program of nutritional supplementation.
Are You at Risk for Heart Disease?
Most of us both men and women are at risk,of developing heart disease. While some risk factors are a matter of age and genes, we can make lifestyle changes that can significantly reduce our risk of developing heart disease. For each lifestyle change your chance for a heart attack or stroke goes down and the quality of your life may go up.
The following is a list of some ways that you can help protect your heart and reduce your risk of heart disease:
Protect your healthy-heart
- Quit smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Smoking is the single, most potent risk factor for heart disease.
- Eat healthy foods. Manage cholesterol, reduce salt and avoid trans-fats and sugar. Eating a good healthy diet is important. Eat a lot of whole grains, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables. Vegetables with the highest concentrations of nutrients include cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale.
- Avoid sugar. Sugar causes inflammation in arteries. This inflammation results in tears in artery walls. Your body produces cholesterol to repair the damage. Over time continued ingestion of sugar results in the build up of plaque. Sugar is the real culprit in the development of plaque.
- Nutritional supplementation. A high intake of antioxidants, a balance of proper fats, and the use of special supplements may protect most of us from heart attack and stroke. Consult your physician before starting any program of nutritional supplementation. Nutritional supplements do not cure or prevent illness and disease. They only give the body the extra nutrition it needs to take care of itself! A healthy lifestyle starts with good nutrition.
- Exercise. Inactivity is a significant risk factor. Inactivity makes problems with diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight more likely. Participate in a senior fitness program including moderate aerobic exercises such as swimming, walking, biking, rowing, or jogging. Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes 5 days per week. Moderate walking just 30 minutes per day can significantly cut the risk of heart disease. Before starting any exercise program it is advisable to consult with your personal physician.
- Manage your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for both heart disease and stroke. Your physician’s nurse will check your blood pressure on the occasion of your regular visit. In between visits to your doctor, check your blood pressure yourself and Keep records with details of what you were doing just before the blood pressure was checked. Discuss with your physician.
- Manage your cholesterol. You should not only know your cholesterol numbers but also what is behind the numbers. About fifty-percent of people with heart attacks or strokes have cholesterol levels within recommended limits. We have been told that HDL cholesterol is good and that LDL cholesterol is bad. There is evidence, however, that there are two forms of the LDL molecule, one large and one small. The small LDL molecule is harmful while the large LDL molecule may actually be beneficial. Have total blood cholesterol checked periodically by a lab that will test for the difference in LDL cholesterol. This is still an open issue that should be discussed with your physician.
- Manage stress. Stress is a major causes of high blood pressure, which is a root cause of heart attack, stroke and even kidney failure. Managing stress with daily prayer and meditation is effective.
- Schedule regular visits to your family physician. Be prepared for that visit with a list of items and concerns for discussion.
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Disclaimer and goal
In the end it's not the years in your life that count but the life in your years. Abraham Lincoln