If you’re getting older along with most of the world, don’t let age justify your heart issues or set your limitations. Cardiology today has so many ways to prevent and treat heart problems -- even into your 90s. Here are a few heart health recommendations from Dr. Alexandra Goncalves, senior medical director, Philips Ultrasound/Cardiology, if you are in the “aging” group (whether you feel like it or not!):
• Don’t be self-limiting through lack of exercise. It’s true that if you “don’t use it, you lose it” -- and lack of exercise can mask symptoms of heart disease. Get moving!
• Visit a cardiologist if you have any concerns. We offer a specialized level of expertise that can identify even insidious heart issues through tests such as echocardiograms and stress evaluations. If you have a problem, your cardiologist can also recommend the latest cardiac procedures, including those supported by 3D TEE ultrasound.
• If you have a cardiac event in your 50s or 60s, make sure you return to your cardiologist for follow-up care. Many people don’t -- but his or her knowledge and perspective is important and can help you with long-term medication adherence and lifestyle choices. Understand that once you have a cardiac event, you will never be “disease free” again.
• Monitor and maintain the cholesterol level that is right for you. Older people with heart disease and/or who’ve had cardiac events need to maintain lower levels than the general population. More information can be found on the website of the British Heart Association here and at the American Heart Association here.