Taking Care of Our Hearts

A recent study found the number one concern of retired persons is their health.

That being the case, it should come as no surprise taking care of one’s heart should be job one. I don’t enjoy preaching to people and truly believe every person should live their retired life as they wish. Besides, at our age, this isn’t our first rodeo. Although most folks are pretty savvy and have probably already discussed some of these issues with their doctors, being reminded of these important heart health considerations can’t hurt. Here are some of the most important ones, including some relatively new ones:

– If you smoke, stop. No discussion. Smoking is not only a major cause of lung cancer, it can create blood clots and contribute to plaque buildup in your arteries. It’s also unhealthy for the hearts of those around you.

– Lower your intake of saturated fats such as red meat. It’s recommended that less than 10% of your diet should come from animals or animal products.

– Maintain a healthy weight. Health.com reports that 72% of men and 64% women in the U. S. are obese.

– Protect your heart with better nutrition. Salty snacks, high sugar foods and drinks, and empty calorie foods full of fat and oil are all factors increasing the risk of stroke, kidney failure, and heart attacks. Replace these foods with more fruits and vegetables.

– Cut down on your alcohol intake. Many people have heard about or read studies suggesting alcohol is good for your heart. While it may turn out that small amounts of alcohol are beneficial, excess alcohol increases the risks of high blood pressure and heart failure.

– Maintain or increase your social life. Studies have shown that older people who are more social are healthier and happier than those who tend to withdraw. Last year my wife and I were asked to discuss retired-life issues on a talk show. This was one of the items I had submitted to be discussed. The producer was not overwhelmed with the discussion topic. I then suggested the topic be changed to “becoming a social butterfly.” He loved it.  

– Avoid sitting for hours. It has been shown to increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, even if you exercise regularly. For some time I have recorded my favorite television shows and watch them when I choose. This way you can get up, move around, and get out of that chair for a while.

– Don’t underestimate emotional factors such as depression or hostility on your heart health. Internalized stress is dangerous. Seek help and manage your stress.

– If you snore, seek medical advice. It could be sleep apnea which can cause high blood pressure and increase your risk of heart attack.

– Maintain good dental hygiene. Recent studies have shown that there is a link between poor dental and gum care and heart disease.

– Don’t wait if you have any symptoms of heart problems. One recent study showed that married men get to the hospital faster and have a higher survival rate than single men. The wives insisted on calling for help. Take the hint and if symptoms occur, get help fast.

Wonderful Technology

Being an old pilot, I love to park near an airport and watch the planes take off and land. I usually carry a small radio that allows me to listen to the tower communications. If I have an airport pick up, I always go early and find a great place to park and enjoy myself. Occasionally, the battery on my radio will go dead and my fun is spoiled. Recently, I found myself wanting to listen to the tower, but didn’t have my radio. At that point, I had an idea. I grabbed my iphone, connected to the internet, and logged onto the airport’s website. Sure enough, they had the tower communications on the website and I was in business. Turns out, almost all of the maj0r airports have websites providing this ability. One small step for man, one giant leap for airplane nerds like me.

Speaking of airports, today I’m off to pick up my wife whom I haven’t seen in two and a half weeks. We’ve both had responsibilities on separate coasts which we handled nicely. In her absence, I’ve been making some very interesting improvements to the old homestead and I’m sure she’ll be surprised.

Health and Happiness    www.TheBestofOurLives.com

John