Heart Health Tips to Keep us Healthy in 2020
Did you know February is Heart Awareness Month? This February, Heart Research Australia aims to raise awareness about the impact heart disease has on families, friends and communities, and the importance of heart research to find new ways of supporting cardiovascular health (a). Heart Research Day is celebrated on the 14 February – the “National Wear Red Day” – to honour those close to your heart and to raise money for research, raise awareness for heart disease and help keep families together for longer (b).
With 4.2 million Australians affected by cardiovascular health issues (c), almost 14% of Australia’s total disease burden stems from heart disease within the Australian health sector (d) – meaning cardiovascular health issues continue to be one of the biggest burdens to the economy. We spoke to Dr Ross Walker (pictured), heart health expert, and leading cardiologist to get his heart health tips to help keep us healthy in 2020. Read on to find out what he had to say, and start your journey to a healthier heart today.
How does the risk of heart disease increase as we age?
People age 65 and older are much more likely than younger people to have cardiovascular issues (1).
The most common change in the cardiovascular system as we age is stiffening of the blood vessels and arteries, causing your heart to work harder to pump blood through them (2). The heart muscles change to adjust to the increased workload. Your heart rate at rest will stay about the same (3), but it won’t increase during activities as much as it used to.
The effects of aging are widely diverse and can be identified at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, and system levels as contributing to the altered function of the cardiovascular system.
What are the main signs of heart disease?
Each type of heart issue requires different treatment but may share similar warning signs. There are some common symptoms that can include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
If you think you may have cardiovascular problems, based on the signs or symptoms you’re having, I suggest you make an appointment to see your GP or doctor.
Are there any secondary signs we should watch out for?
There are some secondary signs that are easily ignored by most people, for example:
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Fatigue and weakness
- Very rapid weight gain from fluid retention
If you are experiencing some unusual signs, it’s best is to see your doctor for advice.
What exercise tips do you recommend as we get older to help keep our heart in top shape?
A safe and healthy exercise routine is really important as we age. 3-5 hours of exercise on a weekly basis is the proven dose for cardiovascular fitness and fat burning . Being sedentary especially if combined with being overweight carries the worst long-term outlook.
My suggestion is to have two thirds gentle cardio such as walking, jogging, cycling or swimming and one third resistance training, such as light weights, stretching, yoga or Pilates.
What foods should we be eating to help our heart stay healthy?
Omega 3 fatty acids that are commonly found in fish are important for our heart health, with the added benefit of reducing inflammation in the body particularly around the joints (5). If you don’t like seafood then walnuts, flaxseed and hemp are also great sources of omega fatty acids.
The Mediterranean diet, which includes extra virgin olive oil, peanuts, tree nuts, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, has also been shown to improve heart health by reducing the build-up of plaque in arteries and provide many other positive metabolic effects (6).
Can Natural Supplements help to keep our heart healthy? If so, how do they do this?
In addition to making lifestyle and nutrition changes, natural heart health supplementation may also be an option to speak to your healthcare practitioner about. Ubiquinol, which is the active, more readily absorbed and effective form of CoQ10—is a powerful antioxidant found naturally in the body. Our natural Ubiquinol levels in our body decline as we age, peaking at around the age of 30 and as early as 20 years old if you are physically active or stressed. Research has shown that Ubiquinol supports heart function by assisting in maintaining healthy levels of LDL cholesterol and may help with overall maintenance of a healthy cardiovascular system (7). In a study on AHA journals, patients who took Ubiquinol showed an improvement in the plasma CoQ10 levels and improvement in heart function (8).
In addition, other targeted supplements such as magnesium orotate, kyolic garlic, bergamot polyphenolic fraction, Vitamin K2 can assist with maintaining a healthy heart (9).
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. www.ubiquinol.net.au
Thank you Dr Ross Walker. At Beauty Over 40 we have certainly learned more about why we need to look after our heart as we age and what to look out for, and we hope our readers have too. Who will you be wearing red for this Valentine’s Day?
ABOUT DR ROSS WALKER:
Dr Ross Walker is an eminent practicing cardiologist with a passion for people and health with 40 years’ experience as a clinician. For the past 20 years he has been focusing on preventative cardiology and is one of Australia’s leading preventative health experts.
Considered one of the world’s best keynote speakers and life coaches, he is the author of seven best-selling books and a regular health presenter in the Australian Media.
Dr Ross appears weekly on national radio networks.