Good heart health at 50 and 60

You’ve probably heard the saying, ‘an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure’.

One person dies every 20 minutes in Australia alone from cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease affects nearly 4 million Australians and remains a major focus on Australia’s health and wellbeing agenda.

Integrative cardiologist Dr Ross Walker shares what good heart health looks like in your 50s and 60s.

Tip #1: Know your risk factors

Those over the age of 45, and especially those with a family history of heart disease, need to pay close attention to their risk factors. Ninety per cent of Australians possess at least one risk factor for heart disease, so regular check-ups with your doctor are essential every six months. If your blood pressure or cholesterol are not ideal, a variety of therapies are available with proven benefits. For those with no prior history of heart disease, males at 50 and females at 60 should have a coronary artery calcium score, which is an accurate predictor of long-term cardiac risk.

Read: Almost half can’t identify heart attack symptoms, study finds

Tip #2: Eat oily fish

Do you eat two to three serves of fish per week? If the answer is no, you’re missing out on beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and, additionally, reduces inflammation in the body, particularly around joints. However, if you’re not the biggest seafood lover, be sure to include walnuts, chia seeds or hemp seeds in your salads or as part of a snack.

Read: Nine food and heart health myths busted

Tip #3: Exercise is non-negotiable

Exercise doesn’t just strengthen your heart, it lowers your blood pressure. A tip is to choose an exercise you enjoy, as you’re more likely to maintain this vital habit. Find ways to add more movement to your day, your health will thank you for it!

Read: How to start safely exercising for heart health

Tip #4: Keep your ubiquinol levels in check

Ubiquinol, the active (and more readily absorbed) form of CoQ10, is a powerful antioxidant found naturally in the body. Ubiquinol has been shown to improve heart function by maintaining healthy levels of LDL cholesterol as well as the overall maintenance of a healthy cardiovascular system.

However, your ubiquinol levels decline naturally from the age of 30, with a study stating that by the age of 80 they may have decreased by up to 65 per cent.

Ubiquinol is found in many foods, including oily fish, organ meats and whole grains. But it is difficult to achieve the daily recommended dose without consuming excessive amounts of these foods. To reach 100mg of ubiquinol, you would need to consume more than 14kg of sardines or 60 avocados.

The healthcare crisis we’ve all been living through has highlighted an urgent need to be proactive about your health and wellbeing, so be sure to check in on yours and consult your healthcare practitioner to determine if supplementation is right for you.

Dr Ross Walker is a leading integrative cardiologist.

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Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

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