Your 20s and 30s
The first thing: Start getting annual physicals. “The important thing is to make sure to have a blood pressure check and see if it falls within the normal range,” said Mathews.
Pre-hypertension occurs when blood pressure starts to creep above normal ranges. For some, this can happen at a relatively young age, especially if they are overweight or obese and sedentary.
Screenings for cholesterol levels also should be part of routine physicals, said Mathews.
When blood pressure or cholesterol is too high, lifestyle changes often can turn things around, such as by losing weight, eating a healthy diet and exercising.
A good routine is aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes — plus warm-up and cool-down –four or five times a week. Brisk walking is enough to make a difference.
By the way, if you smoke, quit.
The same foundation for a healthy lifestyle applies in your 30s. Making a commitment to a healthy lifestyle now will pay dividends later on
But beware: The unhealthy lifestyle choices of your 20s tend to catch up with you in your 30s. Your metabolism slows and you gain weight; the stress of work and daily life piles up and you become sedentary, said Mathews.
By the late 30s, family history comes more into play, he said. Anyone with a family history of heart disease needs to keep up with blood pressure and cholesterol screenings.
Blood tests to screen for diabetes also can start early on as part of a routine physical.
Diabetes is notoriously hard on the heart and cardiovascular system, and glucose levels just beyond the upper range of normal signal pre-diabetes. This is the window of opportunity: Losing weight and exercising will return blood sugar to normal and stop the progression to full-blown diabetes.
Your 40s and 50s
See all of the above: In every decade, health screenings, diet, exercise, and if necessary, managing conditions such as high blood pressure, are good for the heart.
What people do in their 40s and 50s, in relation to health, can affect how healthy they are in their 60s and 70s, said Mathews.
“As you get older is when a lot of risk factors pop
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Article source: http://www.bradenton.com/2012/02/14/3870293/american-heart-month-treat-your.html