Northern California native June Auld, 76, leads a very full life. Aside from her day job as a mental health professional, she can be found, with her husband, Glenn, cooking for the homeless, providing foster care to guide dogs or taking walks around their neighborhood.
It was during one of those full days that Auld began experiencing extreme discomfort in her chest. She and her husband went to the emergency department at Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center, where doctors immediately began running tests. Doctors confirmed that Auld had experienced a heart attack, and placed a stent in a blocked artery.
Auld’s decision to seek immediate care not only saved her life, but saved her from having to undergo more complicated treatment. “The care she received was fantastic,” Auld said. “The day after I got home, I did my walk like I had never had a heart problem, and I’ve never had any pain or discomfort since.”
Show your heart some love now and throughout the rest of your life with these five simple, healthy aging tips from Marc Jaffe, M.D., clinical leader, Kaiser Permanente Northern California Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Program.
How to keep your heart strong:
1. Be sweet. Instead of chocolate, try blueberries or strawberries. These heart-healthy treats are filled with natural antioxidants that can help keep your arteries open.
2. Move to the beat. Grab a partner and do some fancy footwork. Any activity that gets you moving — like dancing or walking — can help increase blood circulation, reduce stress and protect your heart.
3. Do your thing. Activities like painting, writing, yoga and meditation can help slow your heart and breathing rates and lower your blood pressure, all of which are good for your body and your heart.
4. Avoid tobacco. If you smoke, join a tobacco-cessation program to help you quit, and talk to your doctor about medications that can help increase your chances of kicking the habit. If you don’t smoke, avoiding secondhand smoke may also help protect your heart, lungs and blood vessels.
5. Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, losing as little as 10 pounds can make a difference and lower your risk of heart problems.
Living a healthy lifestyle can help your heart stay strong, so you can live — and love — for years to come. See a video about Auld’s story on the Kaiser Permanente Care Stories blog. For questions or advice about a specific condition, talk to your physician.
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