Heart health tip for older adults in 2023 – reduces heart attack risk
Mawi’s Andrew Klymenko discusses silent heart attacks
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Scientists based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, US, revealed how an older person could reduce their risk of a cardiovascular event by up to 50 percent. In order to minimise the probability of having a heart attack or stroke, it’s best to walk between “6,000 to 9,000 steps per day”. The assistant professor of kinesiology at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, Amanda Paluch, commented on the findings.
“We found for adults over 60, there was a strikingly lower risk of a cardiovascular event or disease over an average follow-up of six years,” she said.
“When accumulating more steps per day, there was a progressively lower risk.”
The meta-analysis involved 15 studies involving nearly 50,000 people from four continents.
Professor Paluch added: “The people who are the least active have the most to gain.
“For those who are at 2,000 or 3,000 steps a day, doing a little bit more can mean a lot for their heart health.
“If you’re at 6,000 steps, getting to 7,000 and then to 8,000 also is beneficial, it’s just a smaller, incremental improvement.”
Cardiovascular disease is described as a “disease of ageing”, meaning the hallmarks of a health issue don’t tend to come to fruition till later life.
The NHS explains: “Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels.”
Typically associated with a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries, it is “one of the main causes of death and disability in the UK”.
Four of the main types of cardiovascular diseases are:
- Coronary heart disease
- Strokes and mini strokes
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Aortic disease.
Coronary heart disease occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is reduced or blocked.
Consequently, a person with heart disease could experience chest pain, a heart attack, or heart failure.
Strokes and mini strokes
A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is cut off, which can lead to the death of brain cells.
Signs of a stroke:
- Face – the face may have drooped on one side, the person may be unable to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.
- Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness in one arm.
- Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, they may not be able to talk at all or they may not be able to understand what you are saying to them.
Peripheral artery disease
This cardiovascular condition occurs when there’s a blockage in the arteries to the limbs, usually in the legs.
Symptoms of peripheral artery disease can include:
- Dull or cramping leg pain, which is worse when walking and gets better with rest
- Hair loss on the legs and feet
- Numbness or weakness in the legs
- Persistent ulcers (open sores) on the feet and legs.
Aortic disease is when disease is affecting the largest blood vessel in the body, which carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
“One of most common aortic diseases is an aortic aneurysm, where the aorta becomes weakened and bulges outwards,” the NHS says.
“This doesn’t usually have any symptoms, but there’s a chance it could burst and cause life-threatening bleeding.”
Professor Paluch and her research team’s study was published in the journal Circulation.
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