It’s Heart Health Month so we’re focusing on how we can all maintain our heart health, especially as we age.
Did you know that Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of disease burden and death in Australia? And, every 80 seconds someone is hospitalised with it and 580,000 Australians aged 18 and over have it.
The Heart Foundation recommends everyone 45 years and older get an annual Heart Health Check. A Heart Health Check is a 20-minute health assessment of your heart and associated risk factors. It measures your risk of heart attack over the next few years and how you can reduce this risk. Your doctor can do this quickly and simply.
The Heart Foundation has some wonderful resources to help us, including a great collection of tasty and heart-healthy recipes that you can access here: Free Heart-Healthy Recipes
Of course, a healthy heart is not just achieved by eating well. Science has proven the benefits of physical activity for both the prevention and management of many chronic health issues, including heart disease.
“Increasing levels of physical activity is one of the most important steps older adults can take to improve and maintain their physical, social and mental health, and quality of life.”(National Heart Foundation Of Australia’s Blueprint For An Active Australia).
Yet, as we age, many of us find ourselves becoming less active for a number of different reasons. Here are just a few:
- Falls With 1 in 3 people aged 65 and over suffering from a fall each year, falls can cause some older people to become less confident to participate in physical activities.
Although falls occur more often as we get older, they are actually not a normal part of ageing, with most falls being preventable. Muscle weakness and balance decline are two of the main contributing factors to the increase in fall rates amongst older people – both can be improved by maintaining physical fitness.
- Chronic Conditions 60% of people aged 75-79 have two or more significant conditions. They may have osteoarthritis, diabetes, dementia, high blood pressure or breathing difficulties. Such conditions often require a number of different medications that may have potential side effects. If someone is prone to suddenly feeling unwell due to the health conditions themselves or the medications they must take to treat them, it’s likely to impact their motivation to exercise.
- Social Confidence In the later stages of life, we may find our social networks changing. We may downsize to a home in a new area or feel the loss of family and friends as they move away or pass on.
If we’re lacking social confidence, this can drastically reduce our desire to participate in sports and hobbies that keep us active. Remaining socially connected is essential for our mental health and quality of life. Local Councils across Australia recognise the importance of maintaining social connections in our communities and provide some great resources to help people find enjoyable activities in their local area.
How Can We Maintain Activity As We Age For Physical, Social & Mental Health?
- Drive less and walk more! If possible, leave the car at home and stroll
- Take time for your hobbies Golf, gardening, card games with friends and other pastimes keep us active and socially connected
- Diet Prepare simple, healthy meals that satisfy the taste buds. There are so many great free recipes online.
- Learn new things Keeping our minds active can influence our outlook on life and increase motivation
- Get a pet Pets can reduce stress and anxiety, ease loneliness and encourage exercise that improves your cardiovascular health
If you’ve found yourself becoming less physically and socially active due to health reasons, you may benefit from the peace of mind that comes with a monitored personal alarm. A mobile personal alarm can give you the confidence to get out and about, knowing that help is there if you need it, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you’d like to chat with one of our friendly team to find out if you can benefit from a monitored medical alarm, please give us a call on 1800 476 743.
The good news is you can take positive steps to reduce the risk with the help of your doctor. And there is no better time to take your first step than during Heart Health Month.
You can discuss with a GP other risk factors including high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and family medical history.3
Visit your GP to book your Heart Health Check.
The information above is provided for general information only and should not be relied upon as medical advice. If you would like medical advice, please seek specific advice tailored to your circumstances from a medical practitioner.