Although it is hard to believe that it is February already, here we are! February is known for Valentine’s Day and matters of the heart. It is also set apart as an important month for hearts for another reason; as it is designated as American Heart Month. As we age, there are many changes in the heart and blood vessels that make heart disease more prominent. These changes may include a stiffening of the blood vessels, failure of one or more heart valves, or a thickening of the heart’s wall. Arteriosclerosis is a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries around the heart, which is a common problem for older adults.

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All of these symptoms of heart disease leave us more susceptible to heart attacks, as well as pulmonary issues.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is a term that encompasses several different heart conditions and ailments. In this blog, we will look deeper into those conditions so that you can readily identify any signs of heart disease and get the treatment you need.

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Disease

Early signs of heart disease actually go unnoticed for many older adults, as they may not associate these symptoms with heart problems. If you are experiencing any of these issues, it is best to go and see your physician who can help you to diagnose what is going on. As the disease progresses, signs and symptoms often include:

Shortness of breath in during certain activities
Shortness of breath when in certain positions
Dizzy spells or lightheadedness

More advanced signs of heart disease may include chest pain, pressure, or discomfort, which may actually indicate a heart attack is occurring. Interestingly, the older we get, the less chance that chest pain is indicative of a heart attack. Other symptoms in older seniors may include pain in the shoulders, arms, neck or jaw; as well as confusion, headaches, cold sweats, or swelling of the ankles, legs, feet, stomach or neck. Do not delay in getting medical help should you experience any of these symptoms.

Heart Healthy Foods

Our diets affect our hearts more than we realize. It is especially important for seniors to be aware of those foods which will help our heart to fight back against disease. Incorporate these foods into your diet for a healthier heart, as well as overall health and well-being.

Seed and Nuts: These tasty snacks pack a ton of heart-healthy unsaturated fats into a few handfuls, as well as fiber and micro-nutrients that can lower cholesterol. Try walnuts as your best choice in this category.
Beans and Legumes: Adding beans into your diet will significantly impact LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Berries: We all crave sweets now and again, so satisfy your sweet tooth naturally with blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. Their high levels of antioxidants fight heart disease and cell damage. Eat them alone, add to yogurt or cereal, or super-charge your smoothie.
Fish: Keeping frozen fish in the freezer will allow for a quick healthy meal loaded with the Omega 3s your heart needs. Eating fish has been known to lower blood pressure, decrease risk of heart disease and stroke, and reduce blood clotting. The best fish for these purposes are salmon, lake trout, mackerel and tuna.

The month of February is American Heart month, but these tips will help you to love your heart all year round.

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