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Living Life After a Heart Attack

Living Life After a Heart Attack

“As serious as a heart attack” became an expression simply due to the severity of the cardiac event. Having a heart attack is scary. Consequently, resuming life as you were pre-heart attack can be almost impossible. In some ways, that might be a good thing, because you likely need to make some lifestyle changes. However, you can’t become scared to live your life simply because you have experienced the life-altering event of a heart attack. To reduce your risk of ever experiencing a heart attack again and to embrace your new post-attack existence, read the following tips:

How to Prevent Heart Attack Recurrence in Honor of National Heart Health Month

Take Prescribed Medication

If your doctor prescribed certain medication for you to take regularly after your heart attack, follow their orders. Sure, not all medications are fun to take. There are side effects. We understand. However, your doctor knows what they are doing, so heed their advice and keep the proper medication in your system. Doing so will reduce your risk of ever experiencing another heart attack. If you are struggling to endure specific side effects, talk to your doctor. Perhaps they can switch the medication to another brand to reduce side effects.

Go Through Cardiac Rehabilitation

If your doctor recommends cardiac rehabilitation, make sure to attend. Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program that is created for heart attack survivors. It was designed to help patients rehabilitate properly after going through the trauma of a heart attack.

Don’t Skip Out on Follow-Up Appointments

Once you are feeling better and your heart attack becomes more and more of a memory, you can tend to skip out on follow up doctor visits. Don’t! Each appointment, though they might seem repetitive to you, is designed to monitor your cardiac progress and prevent another episode from happening. Be honest with your doctor during these visits. Tell them your fears and concerns. Bring up any issues with medication side effects or diet, but whatever you do, go to your appointments. They are necessary.

Manage Post Heart Attack Risk Factors

While you might not know exactly what caused your first heart attack, you can reduce your risk for subsequent attacks by managing known risks. This includes adhering to a specific diet, taking all your prescribed medications, ending bad habits like smoking and more. This can also include beginning and continuing an exercise regimen designed to work your heart.

Get Support

Having a heart attack is scary. It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed, not only with your recovery, but with your life post heart attack. Thankfully, there are many support groups out there where you can meet with other survivors, share stories and encourage each other throughout your recovery process. You are not alone as a heart attack survivor, so why approach your recovery alone?

As a heart attack survivor, you should feel blessed to still be living life here on earth each day. However, that doesn’t mean that this process of recovery will automatically be easy for you. In fact, it will likely be difficult. After all, your life will likely change in virtually every aspect after experiencing such a life-altering event. Thankfully, by embracing the above tips, you are well on your way to living life well after a heart attack.

 

Sources:
https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cardiac-rehab
http://supportnetwork.heart.org/heart-attack
https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/life-after-a-heart-attack

Numbers You Need to Know For Heart Health Month

Numbers You Need to Know For Heart Health Month

The month of February, known as the American Heart Health Month, is the ideal time to increase your focus on heart health. According to Millions Hearts, one in every three deaths in America is related to cardiovascular disease. This means heart health is a crucial aspect of everyone’s overall health and life expectancy. In honor of this special month, let’s look at some vital numbers you need to know that reveal your overall heart health and tell you what you need to improve:

Numbers You Need to Know For Heart Health Month

  • Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Your blood pressure is the measurement of the force that pushes blood against the blood vessel walls. Having high blood pressure puts you at an increased risk for both heart attack and stroke. A healthy blood pressure is 130 or lower on top and 80 or higher on the bottom. Don’t wait to experience symptoms of a high blood pressure to have it checked. Hypertension is known by medical professionals as “the silent killer” because it is notorious for striking without warning. There are usually no symptoms at all to look for, so regular visits to your doctor to check blood pressure levels are wise.
  • Cholesterol: Your body makes two types of cholesterol. One is known as the good, or HDL, and one is known as the bad or LDL cholesterol.  They are measured together and then combined with 20% of your triglyceride score to determine a total overall cholesterol level. A healthy or ideal cholesterol score is 200 or below. If you measure from 200 to 239, you are considered a borderline risk. If this number is above 240 or more, you are diagnosed with high cholesterol. When your cholesterol is high, this means it is building up along your arteries, which can eventually lead to heart disease if left unchecked.
  • Resting Heart Rate: This number indicates how many times your heart beats in a minute’s time when you are at rest. If your resting heart rate is on the lower end, this suggests cardiovascular fitness. Conversely, if your resting heart rate is elevated, it could indicate a potential cardio issue. You can check your resting heart rate on your own. The best time to do so is first thing in the morning. Take your pulse for 15 seconds, then multiply this number by 4 to get your resting heart rate. Ideally, a healthy resting heart rate is anywhere from 60 to 100 beats per minute. Keep in mind, some medications can alter your heart rate, so take that into consideration when contemplating this measurement.
  • Blood Glucose Level: Your blood sugar numbers are fluid, changing depending on the time of day and what you eat. However, your fasting blood sugar rate should be less than 100 if you have a healthy blood glucose level. A number higher than this could indicate your body is struggling to regulate blood glucose levels. This can eventually lead to diabetes and increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. If you do not have a way to measure our blood sugar levels at home, ask your doctor to check it during your regular checkups.

Keep the numbers above in mind this February to truly embrace Heart Health Month. Each one could indicate a potential issue with your cardiovascular health that should be addressed to ensure optimal heart health and increase life expectancy.

 

Sources:
https://millionhearts.hhs.gov/learn-prevent/cost-consequences.html
https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2019/7-heart-health-numbers.html#quest1
https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/heart-disease-lower-cholesterol-risk#1

Travel Tips You Want To Know

Travel Tips You Want To Know

A trip to visit long-distance family and friends can be a great gift. However, there are some steps to follow to ensure your traveling experience is pleasant and positive overall. Read on to learn more:

Find Travel Discounts

As a senior citizen, you are able to benefit from a wide range of traveling discounts. Research airlines, cruise lines and buses to find out when the best time is to travel and what discounts are available for seniors.

Request Senior Accommodations

Another way to ensure a positive experience when traveling is utilizing senior accommodations. Free wheelchair service, row seats for disabled travelers and dietary specifications for meals are all available to you as a senior when traveling.

Prepare Your Medication And Any Applicable Documentation

If traveling out of the country, you will obviously need an updated passport, and in some cases, specific vaccinations. It’s important to have that ready and prepared ahead of time. In addition, all your prescriptions should be filled and prepared for your trip. Also, it’s a great idea to have copies of your prescriptions as well as any applicable medical statements made, so you can have them on hand should a medical event take place when you are away from home.

Pack Light

In general, the lighter you can pack, the better. When traveling, you don’t have to heft heavy luggage through an airport or bus or train station. Put all your medications in a freezer bag and carry that with you. Keep in mind, you should avoid wrapping any presents that you are taking along via plane, as the airport security will likely demand to see what’s inside.

Consider Security And Safety

Be aware of your surroundings when traveling. Unfortunately, as a senior you are a prime target for pickpockets and con artists. Always stay alert and cognizant of your surroundings. Also, if possible, avoid carrying a purse with cash or credit cards. Instead, hide money or use a money belt under a blouse or on a neck cord.

Ensure Any Destination is Senior Friendly

Make sure your destination is senior friendly. This includes ensuring any destination has ramps, handrails, etc. If you are staying with family at their home, carefully communicate any needs you might have, but make sure you don’t come across as demanding. However, in most cases, your family will want to accommodate your needs and ensure you are comfortable during your stay. If finances allow, you can instead opt to stay in a handicap room at a hotel, where there are elevators, handicap bathrooms and handicap parking.

Try Senior Friendly Tours or Cruises

If you want to travel for leisure or even want to book a few activities during your stay with family, you can try some senior tours or cruises. This is a great way to spend the day or a few days. Many tour companies cater to you as a senior and set up specific tours with your needs and preferences in mind.

Remember the above information when you set up your holiday travels to see family and friends. The overall experience of traveling should be one of joy and anticipation, and with a little forethought and planning, you can ensure that is the in fact the case.

Diabetics at Higher Risk of Falling at Home. But Why?

Diabetics at Higher Risk of Falling at Home. But Why?

The American Diabetes Association estimates some 25.2% or 12 million seniors live with diabetes. If you are one of them, you have likely heard how the condition can make you more likely to experience a fall. Have you ever wondered why, though? What about the disease of diabetes increases your risk of falling? Read on to find out…

Nerve Damage

The condition of diabetes causes the body’s glucose rates to increase. This can and often does cause nerve damage within the body. The medical term for this is neuropathy. According to experts, almost half of all diabetics will develop some sort of neuropathy as a by-product of the disease. Nerve damage, especially to the nerves in the toes, feet and spinal cord can cause a loss of muscle tone and sensation in the ankles and feet. This in turn can make it harder for you to walk and increase your chance of losing your balance. A study published in the PLOS One Journal found those individuals with neuropathy or nerve damage had a much greater risk of falling than those without such damage.

Functional Disabilities and Vision Issues, Also a Problem

Neuropathy isn’t the only problem linking diabetes with an increased risk of falling. If you have diabetes, you are also at a greater risk of developing functional disabilities. This can make tasks like climbing stairs arduous and even walking for extended periods of time problematic.  Diabetes can also result in retinopathy, which happens to be the top cause of vision loss in diabetics. Of course, reduced vision and functional disabilities, along with muscle loss only add to your fall risk.

Low Blood Sugar Another Factor

Although diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose measurements, when you take medication and/or insulin in an attempt to lower your increased levels, this can result in another problem altogether, that being low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. This condition can cause you to become woozy, and lose your balance, which of course increases your risk of falling. According to the Medicine journal, diabetic patients who have a history of hypoglycemic episodes were at an increased risk of falls.

Medications, Yet Another Factor Leading to Falls

Another strike against you as a diabetic when it comes to your fall risk is your medication regimen. As a diabetic, you likely take an abundance of medications. Many experts feel taking several medications can increase your fall risk. Some studies even suggest your risk of falling goes up 7% with the introduction of each additional medication.

Why Falling  is so Bad

As the information listed above proves, being diabetic can increase your risk of falling in a variety of ways. Though taking a fall might sound innocuous, you should know that it is the most common factor that causes traumatic brain injuries in older adults according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also can cause bone loss and a loss of independence so it should be avoided when possible.

Diabetes is a common disease and as such is often considered a minor one. It shouldn’t be taken lightly, though, especially when you consider how much simply having the condition can increase your risk of falling.

 

 

Sources:
http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/
https://www.healthandwellnessalerts.berkeley.edu/alerts/diabetes/Why-Diabetes-Raises-Your-Risk-of-Falling_7805-1.html

The Traveling Senior – Staying Safe and Healthy Away from Home

The Traveling Senior – Staying Safe and Healthy Away from Home

Taking time to see the world, traveling at your leisure, is one of the perks of reaching your retirement years. Of course, ensuring you travel safely is important, no matter your age but even more so as you grow older. Therefore, the following tips are especially applicable for you as a senior as you travel:

  • Consider Insurance: When you leave the comfort of home, you also leave your insurance coverage behind, in some cases. There is nothing worse than falling, hurting yourself, or needing some sort of medical intervention when you are away from home and finding out your health insurance isn’t accepted. One way to ensure you get the care you need, though, when you are away from home or out of the country is to buy travel insurance.
  • Get a Well Health Visit: Before embarking on a vacation, go see your doctor. This will ensure you are in good condition for traveling. This is especially important if you plan to travel outside of the country or to travel in the air or on a ship.
  • Secure And Duplicate Travel Documents, Prescriptions: Before leaving, make sure you have copies of your driver’s licenses, passports, bank cards, emergency contacts, etc. stored online in iCloud or in a Dropbox. This will allow you to replace these items quicker if you should lose them while away. Keep a digital copy of your health record and prescriptions on your iPhone as well.
  • Take Along Plenty of Medications: If you take regular medications, make sure you carry them along, in their original containers, which show the prescribing physician’s name. Make sure you bring along an amble supply of your medication to ensure you don’t run out.
  • Don’t Show Off Your Resources: At this stage in life, you likely have a lot of nice possessions, including jewelry. Though it’s understandable to want to wear these items and to enjoy them when traveling, you might want to leave them behind. Wearing nice jewelry or even appearing to have money when traveling can make you a target for thieves. In the same way, revealing you’re carrying money can make you a target. It’s a better idea to abstain from carrying a large wad of cash and instead opt for using a credit card for all travel related expenses.
  • Tell Trusted Individuals Your Plan & Keep Them Updated: It’s important that you let a trusted individual or few individuals know where you plan on being each day throughout your journey. Check in with them regularly, so they will know if something bad happens.
  • Don’t Advertise Your Plans: While the above is true, you don’t want “everyone” to know your plans, only a trusted few individuals. For example, your Facebook friend group has no business knowing when you will be leaving and how long you will be away from home. When this information gets into the wrong hands, your home and the possessions you leave behind could be put at risk.
  • Invest in a GPS Mobile Medical Alert System: Unfortunately, bad things can happen when you leave home. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t live your life to its fullest and enjoy countless adventures. Instead, invest in a good GPS medical alert system to ensure you stay safe, even when away from home. Complete our form for more information on the best available medical alert systems.

Traveling is a great way to spend your retirement years. Just follow the tips listed above to make sure you stay safe in the process.

How to Gracefully Retain Your Independence as You Age

How to Gracefully Retain Your Independence as You Age

Youth may be wasted on the young, as they say, but valued elders are living longer and more vibrant lifestyles.

The average life expectancy of someone living in the United States now exceeds 78 years. But longevity is only half of the equation. Seniors and their loved ones are now tasked with taking steps to improve their quality of life. The golden years can only shine brightly when your independence and dignity are fully intact.

That’s why many people are opting for medical alert systems in the event of an emergency. With such safeguards in place, our valued elders can focus on ways to age with improved grace. Consider these tips to extend healthy living.

Lower Stress

Many people would top their list of healthy living practices with good nutrition. Arguably, that may make sense. But stress has a tremendous impact on our bodies, emotional health, and outlook. It’s difficult to be graceful when you are overwhelmed by stress.

While it may be easier said than done, lowering stress can provide a tremendous uptick in daily living. Start by rooting out negative things such as cable news or electronics.

Consider creating a positive action plan for yourself that includes a set morning routine designed to improve mindfulness and reduce stress. Many people rise early when things are quiet, practice meditation, yoga, stretching or light exercise depending on needs and abilities. The point is to start your day off mindfully and foster a positive outlook.

Wake Fully Rested

Sleep and stress are intertwined. Without a full 7-8 hours nightly, the body cannot reset its cortisol levels. These are responsible for helping us deal with everyday physical and emotional stress.

Dark circle, bags under your eyes or a feeling of exhaustion may be indicators that you are not fully rested. If you are in bed and asleep for a full 8 hours, consider speaking with a medical professional about potential causes of interruption. Rest remains a key to physical and mental wellbeing.

Keep Learning

An active mind is a healthy mind. And a healthy mind fuels your personality and engagement with the others.

There are numerous ways to stay mentally fit including taking online courses, programs at local libraries or taking up lessons. Your golden years can be a wonderful opportunity to learn a musical instrument, draw, paint, discover photography or start writing. Exercising your brain is equally as important as exercising the body.

Keep It Simple . . .

The simple life is definitely the good life. That’s because the more stuff you have, the more time you spend tending to it. This is not to say that you should purge everything and become a minimalist.

Focus on the things that have special meaning or bring you some level of joy. By gradually ridding yourself of the unnecessary clutter, you may experience an inner sigh relief. Too much stuff tends to weigh us all down. Unclutter, be happy.

Maintain In-Home Safety

It’s common knowledge that hard falls and health hazards are acutely significant to our elder community members. Additional support rails in key areas are excellent ways to avoid a fall. But if one occurs, cell phones are not the most reliable way to call for assistance.

Fortunately, organizations such as US Medical Alert Systems offers a personalized emergency response that works 24 hours, 7 days a week. Knowing support will arrive in just minutes, allows you to focus on the positives, put worry aside and enjoy your independence.