The secret to healthy aging is starting early
To age well, start now, no matter how old — or young — you are.
That’s the advice from a group of experts in medicine, nutrition and wellness. Whether you’re 20, 40 or 60-plus, healthier aging begins with choices we make every day about exercise, eating and taking care of health issues that crop up. Here are a few simple tips.
• From Joy Bauer, a nutritionist and the author of “From Junk Food to Joy Food”: Go meatless one to two days a week. Eating less beef, pork and poultry (and in its place, more plant-based foods) often means a lower body mass index, improved cholesterol, lower blood pressure and a decreased disease risk.
• Dr. Andrew Weil, director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and author of “Mind Over Meds”: Strength training with weights and weight-bearing exercise such as running, walking and cycling develop the muscles and bones you need in later life. Also be sure your diet includes calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, leafy greens and sesame.
• Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York: The early adult years are the peak age for the onset of many psychiatric problems, including anxiety and depression. Catching problems early not only will ensure a faster recovery, it also could change the entire trajectory of one’s life.
• Gunnar Peterson, a Los Angeles-based personal trainer: Make a fitness plan and stick to it: Lock in a routine that incorporates strength and cardio. The important thing is having a plan, and the more precise it is, the easier it is to follow. Schedule it the way you would a job interview or a business trip.
Heart attack symptoms can vary by gender
Heart attack symptoms in women tend to be subtler and may be more ambiguous than those in men.
For example, chest pain is a common heart attack symptom, but women’s chest pain usually is not as severe as men’s chest pain. Often the chest pain may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, fatigue and nausea. In addition, the pain may not be just in the chest, but in the back, shoulder or neck, too.
There also are some specific risk factors that affect only females. Women who have high blood pressure during pregnancy — called pre-eclampsia — are at increased risk later in life for heart disease. After menopause, when estrogen levels drop, the rate of heart disease in women goes up dramatically. And, as with men, a woman’s personal and family medical history can be a factor.
The bottom line — for both men and women — is that if you think you might be having a heart attack — even if the symptoms seem vague — don’t ignore them.
Mayo Clinic news network