"Whether you're in your 20s, 40s, 50s or older, heart health is an important part of your wellness journey," said Catholic Health cardiologist Dr. John Asheld. "Starting good heart healthy habits early can help prevent heart disease. Maintaining those habits will only continue to benefit you as you get older."
Follow these guidelines at any age to decrease the chance of developing heart disease.
Know your risk factors
Risk factors include:
- Family history
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
Practice healthy habits
"Cardiac care is a lifelong commitment," said Dr. Wilbur Asheld. "I tell patients it's never too soon to start practicing good habits like nutrition, exercise and stress management that have a positive impact on heart health at any age."
Good habits to practice regularly include:
Balanced nutrition. Eat a diet high in lean protein, fruits and vegetables. Avoid saturated fats and processed foods. Instead, get plenty of fiber and choose complex carbohydrates like whole-wheat bread, oatmeal and quinoa.
Exercise. Strengthen your cardiovascular system, lower your blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise each week.
Don't smoke. Quitting smoking will significantly decrease your risk of heart disease even if you’ve smoked for years.
Stress management. Practice relaxation techniques and get the recommended amount of sleep. Reach out to a mental health professional if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Annual exams. Scheduling an appointment with your PCP helps to catch health issues early and when most treatable.
Keep up with your heart health at every age
Heart health in your 20s to 30s
As a young adult, take steps to establish good health habits.
- Find a PCP and schedule regular checkups, including blood pressure and cholesterol screenings.
- Get regular physical activity, including cardiovascular exercise and strength training to keep your body functioning as you age.
- Learn your family health history, including relatives with heart disease, stroke, diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Manage stress levels so your emotional health does not impact your heart.
Heart health in your 40s to 50s
Continue to prioritize your heart health as you enter middle age.
- Discuss hormonal changes and the effect on heart health.
- Exercise regularly to maintain your cardiovascular health and reduce your stress levels.
- Schedule regular physicals so you do not miss important health screenings.
- Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke so you can act quickly.
Heart health in your 60s and older
Continue to make good choices to keep your heart healthy.
- Adjust your diet to account for a slower metabolism that comes with age and decreased activity.
- Continue to exercise regularly, even if you modify your activities to walking or low-impact water aerobics.
- See your physician regularly for routine health screenings or to discuss specific symptoms.
Find care at Catholic Health
Your journey to good health starts with your primary care physician (PCP). Call 866-MY-LI-DOC (866-695-4362) to find a PCP near you.
Your PCP can recommend you to a cardiologist if further evaluation is needed. At Catholic Health's St. Francis Heart Center, Long Island’s most awarded heart program, we offer the highest level of cardiac care led by a team of nationally recognized cardiologists.