Heart health is important at all ages
GEHA | February 3, 2023
When we think of heart disease, we often think about how it affects people who are middle-aged and older. And while much has been done to educate people about the increasing risk of heart attacks and cardiac arrest in their 30s and 40s, until recently not a lot of attention has been given to heart health for the very young.
Some people are born with congenital heart conditions and are unaware or have no symptoms. That’s one reason why it’s important for parents to have their newborns screened for heart murmurs and other issues. Even the healthiest young athlete can suffer from a heart event. Recent attention has been given to additional heart screenings for teenagers, especially if they participate in an intense athletic activity, for preventive screening of unknown heart conditions.
The habits we form in our family environment growing up and our family health history both play a role in our long-term quality of life and longevity. Access to healthy food and ways to exercise are important for everyone. In our busy society, many people have turned to processed convenience foods and frequent dining out as primary food sources. These choices, along with lack of physical activity, set the stage for obesity and possible future heart disease.
Annual checkups by a primary care physician (PCP) are vital to establishing a baseline for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose (A1C) numbers. Increases in these numbers as we age can be warning signs to change eating and exercise habits or regulate these numbers through prescription medications such as statins to lower bad cholesterol. It is important to take these drugs as prescribed.
During National Heart Health Month this February, show your own heart some love by scheduling your PCP visit and setting positive goals to make better food choices and increase exercise frequency if needed. For help finding a PCP near you, try our Find Care tool.
GEHA members have access to gym discounts and on-demand workout videos through the Active&Fit Direct™ program.
Resources for recipes and healthy eating tips to keep obesity in check and improve overall health are available regularly through GEHA educational webinars and this blog. See these for tips:
- Webinar: Weighing in on Weight Management
- Webinar: Game-Changing Nutrition Hacks
- Statin therapy can help lower cholesterol