Author: Jana Christine

Understanding Your Risk for Heart Disease

Woman sitting in a field eating an apple

Here’s a sad truth we must confront this American Heart Month: heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. Because of this, it’s important to assess your susceptibility. Treating heart disease can be expensive and emotionally draining. But it’s not impossible to live with if you take the right approach. 

Heart disease describes any condition affecting your heart and blood vessels. These conditions reduce blood flow to your heart and increase your chances of stroke and heart attack. Many factors can contribute to the development of heart disease from existing cardiovascular risks to certain lifestyle choices. Luckily, there are actions you can take to reduce your risk. But before discussing preventive measures, let’s explain how, why, and to whom heart disease occurs.

How Does Heart Disease Develop?

To understand heart disease, it’s important to know how the heart works. This all-important organ is made up of the atria and ventricles, both of which there are two. The atria reside at the top of the heart organ, transporting oxygenated blood from right to left. The blood then travels to your left ventricle to pump the blood out of your body. The right ventricle transports blood back to your lungs, giving it the oxygen it needs to survive.

Within the structure of your heart, there is a system of arteries transporting blood. When plaque fills up the arteries, your blood flow is impaired. Plaque consists of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin. They all pile up within the walls of your arteries. This narrowing of passageways for blood to travel through is called atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis can cause major problems within your heart. A piece of plaque can snap off and flow into your bloodstream. If it gets stuck in another part of the artery, it can cause a blood clot. Blood clots can lead to heart attacks, deep vein thrombosis, or pulmonary embolism. 

Atherosclerosis is a symptom of all major heart conditions. Let’s get into the different forms of heart disease and their effect on your body.

What Conditions Does Heart Disease Cause?

Several conditions lie under the umbrella of heart disease: 

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart attack
  • Arrhythmia
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Hypertension

Coronary Artery Disease 

Coronary artery disease happens when plaque creates narrowed or blocked arteries, which then reduces blood flow to your heart. Coronary artery disease is a direct result of atherosclerosis developing in your arteries. Chest pain, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and enlarged heart muscles also stem from coronary artery disease.

Heart Attack

Heart attacks are a very serious and deadly form of heart disease that occurs when clots block the blood flow to your heart. When an artery’s blood supply is completely cut off, the heart muscle that it’s connected to begins to die. 

The severity of damage caused depends on the size of the affected heart muscle. The bigger the heart muscle, the greater the injury. And the longer you wait to seek treatment, the more damage occurs. 

Heart attacks can be fatal if the muscle is blocked for too long. When the heart muscle dies, it’s impossible for your heart to pump enough blood to the rest of your body. This then causes organ failure, cardiac arrest, and ultimately death.


Arrhythmia occurs when you have an irregular heartbeat. The electrical signals that regulate your beat don’t work properly. This causes the heart to beat too fast or too slow, thus disturbing blood flow. Arrhythmia decreases your oxygen supply and can lead to cardiac arrest or stroke. 

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease is caused by abnormalities that are present at birth when the structure of your heart is misshapen. This prevents normal blood flow to your heart. Abnormalities in the heart walls, valves, and blood vessels often lead to this disease.


Hypertension is any heart condition caused by high blood pressure. When the pressure inside the arteries is high, the heart has to work extra hard to pump blood. This makes the muscle inside your heart too thick to get enough oxygen. This can lead to chest pain and even heart failure. 

Hypertension can narrow your arteries, cause damage to your inner lining, and thicken your blood vessel walls. These interactions with the cholesterol in your blood vessels can cause a heart attack or stroke to occur. 

What Risks Contribute to Heart Disease?

There are many factors that contribute to the development of heart disease. Common vices like smoking, poor diet, and low levels of exercise often play a role. But many people with optimal health habits are also prone to contracting heart disease. Here’s a breakdown of heart disease risks and what you can do to combat them. 


It’s no shock that smoking is bad for you. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke reduces the oxygen capacity of your blood. Nicotine raises blood pressure, which leads to hypertension. Considering other health problems that cigarettes can cause, quitting smoking can be a positive step in preventing all kinds of ailments including heart disease. 


Foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol can cause plaque buildup. High-sodium snacks can also raise blood pressure. Switching to a health plan of nutrients like fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, vegetable oils, and lean proteins are a great way to decrease your risk of heart disease. 


Getting regular exercise, especially cardiovascular, is like recharging the battery of your heart. It lets more blood pump through your body, allowing it to work at its most efficient level. It also helps your arteries and blood vessels stay in optimal shape. This maintains proper blood flow and stable blood pressure. 

Family History of Heart Disease

Your family’s health history can contribute to your risk of heart disease. Arrhythmia is one of the most common inherited disorders. It encompasses the following heart conditions:

  • Long QT syndrome
  • Brugada syndrome
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome 

Common signs of arrhythmia include heart palpitations, fainting, and blackouts. Some people may never experience these symptoms, which is why taking measures towards heart disease prevention is essential.

Avoiding smoking and improving your diet and exercise can be helpful to those with inherited heart conditions. Getting your cholesterol checked is also important, especially if you have a family history of high blood cholesterol.Your cholesterol test results will help you assess your risk of heart disease. For some people, medication and surgical procedures may be necessary. 

Fighting off the Risks of Heart Disease

Lifestyle choices and preexisting conditions can put you at an increased risk for heart disease. Improving your daily habits, getting better nutrition, and seeking medical help when needed can reduce these risks. Following the heart health tips above is a powerful step you can take to improve your cardiovascular health.

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Understanding Hyperlipidemia: What Is It and What Causes It?

male doctor with clipboard smiling and talking to female elderly patient

Most people have heard of high cholesterol, but have you heard of the medical term hyperlipidemia? This is an umbrella term for any health condition caused by an overabundance of lipids in your blood. It’s important to control your cholesterol levels, whether you have hyperlipidemia or not. Here’s how to identify the causes of hyperlipidemia and treat the symptoms.

How Does Cholesterol Influence Hyperlipidemia?

Cholesterol is a type of lipid that your body needs to survive. It helps you with digestion and hormone production. Your liver generates cholesterol on its own, thus your body isn’t completely dependent on the cholesterol you receive from food. But for better or worse, the food you eat affect your cholesterol levels.

Hyperlipidemia occurs when you have too much cholesterol. High cholesterol levels stimulate blockage in the arteries. Plaque piles up inside, making it hard for blood to reach your organs. Because blood transports nutrients and oxygen, organ damage can occur when they don’t get a proper blood supply.

Hyperlipidemia-related organ damage can lead to life-threatening health problems such as:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Diabetes

Understanding the Different Types of Cholesterol

As we’ve established, cholesterol can be good or bad for you. This depends on how much extra you have in your body. It also depends on which of the two types of cholesterol it is: LDL or HDL. 

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is what creates plaque in your arteries. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is a healthier form of cholesterol. It removes plaque and helps transport LDL to your liver where it’s then removed from your body. The more LDL you have in your blood, the lower your risk for stroke or heart disease. 

When you eat foods with cholesterol, what you’re really doing is supplying your body with fat. Fat is an essential nutrient that provides you with energy, but not all fats are good for you. Saturated fats are loaded with LDL. Unsaturated fats can reduce your LDL levels and help lower your cholesterol. 

What Do Cholesterol Blood Tests Do?

Many people with high cholesterol are not aware of it. Most won’t know they have it until they experience a hyperlipidemia-related health problem. The only other way to know is with a blood test.

Getting a cholesterol blood test is a vital part of hyperlipidemia prevention. It checks the levels of different types of lipids you have in your blood. This includes triglycerides, LDL, and HDL cholesterol. Getting your blood evaluated can determine your risk of a heart attack, heart disease, and blood vessel disease. 

What Types of Hyperlipidemia Are There?

Not every case of hyperlipidemia is caused by eating too much cholesterol. Some people with well-balanced lifestyles suffer from familial hyperlipidemia. This form is caused by a genetic mutation that’s passed down.

People with familial hyperlipidemia may show cardiovascular-related symptoms at a young age. Chest pain, cramping in the calves, and unhealed sores are not uncommon. They can even experience a stroke or heart attack in their teens and twenties.

The other form of this condition is called acquired hyperlipidemia. It’s common among people with weight-related issues like diabetes and hypothyroidism. It can also be caused by kidney disease, nephrotic syndrome, or certain medications. In fact, birth control, diuretics, and corticosteroids can contribute to acquired hyperlipidemia.

How to Cope With and Treat Hyperlipidemia

Living with hyperlipidemia is completely manageable. But only if you are taking active steps towards lowering your cholesterol levels. This can reduce your risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease—one of the leading causes of death in America. 

Curate a Cholesterol-Optimized Diet

One of the best ways to reduce cholesterol is to change your diet. This means consuming more fiber through whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It is also recommended to  eat more lean proteins and plant-based foods like beans, lentils, and tofu. Try cutting out saturated fats from meat, butter, and cheese. Replace them with healthier unsaturated fats from avocados, seeds, and nuts. You can also up your intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating foods such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, soybeans, walnuts, seafood, eggs, and yogurt.

Up Your Workout Routine

Both a healthy diet and exercise can lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. Working out also lowers your triglycerides, a type of fat that can up your risk for heart disease. Above all, regular exercise helps you maintain your weight. This is an important factor as obesity is heavily linked to high cholesterol. 

Aim for at least 2 and a half hours of moderate exercise or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise every week. Along with focusing on cardiovascular exercise, add in a bi-weekly muscle-strengthening activity for good measure. 

Kick Your Smoking and Drinking Habits

Smoking and heavy drinking are bad habits that can lead to high cholesterol. Smoke damages your blood vessel walls and leads to plaque buildup. Drinking can also damage your liver, which is an important regulator of cholesterol metabolism. Those who want to treat hyperlipidemia should drink no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. 

Choose the Right Hyperlipidemia Medication

More serious cases of hyperlipidemia may require medication. These medications are referred to as lipid-lowering therapy. Each type of medication has a different method for lowering cholesterol. Here’s how they work:

  • Niacin: This is a B vitamin that raises HDL and lowers LDL. Though niacin is a vitamin found in many foods, it can also be consumed as a dietary supplement.
  • Fibrates: A medication that focuses on decreasing triglycerides. Though it increases your HDL levels, it does not lower LDL. Tricor and Lopid are two of the most common fibrate medications. 
  • Bile acid sequestrants: A lipid-lowering therapy that binds onto bile acids in the intestine. This prevents LDL from being absorbed into your bloodstream. LDL is then excreted from your body in the form of feces. Bile acid sequestrants come in tablet and powder form.
  • Statins: A medication that blocks the cholesterol-producing enzymes in your liver. Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor are statin medications commonly used to treat hyperlipidemia-related conditions.
  • PCSK9 Inhibitors: PCSK9 is a type of protein that breaks down LDL receptors. This allows more cholesterol to stay in your bloodstream. Inhibitors reduce your LDL levels by blocking this protein. Repatha and Paluent are two types of PCSK9 Inhibitors that can be injected into your body with a syringe. 

Note that lipid-lowering therapy works best when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Consult with your doctor to select the best hyperlipidemia medication for you. 

Take Back Control From Hyperlipidemia 

A multitude of health issues stems from hyperlipidemia. Stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, and diabetes are just some of the many. That’s why it’s critical to know if you are at risk of developing it and what you can do to control the symptoms. Making healthy lifestyle choices can lessen hyperlipidemia symptoms and improve your overall health.

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Understanding the Basics of Thyroid Health

Bearded man getting thyroid gland checked by doctor

What is a thyroid? If you haven’t had any problems with this area of the body, you may not even know where it’s located. For newcomers to thyroid health, the thyroid is a 2-inch-long gland found in the front of your neck. It lies underneath the adam’s apple, or the piece of cartilage that protrudes from your neck. 

Most people don’t start thinking about their thyroid until a doctor tells them to—but they should. Thyroids affect heart rate, digestion, breathing, and energy levels. So taking good care of it can benefit you in many ways. Let’s explain the role that thyroids play in your overall health.

What Does a Thyroid Do?

Thyroids produce hormones that allow the organs throughout your body to communicate. They disperse hormones into your bloodstream to act as messengers to the rest of your body. These hormones bind to receptors (protein molecules within a cell) to induce a change in activity in that particular cell. 

Thyroids use a nutrient called iodine to produce two hormones: triiodothyronine and thyroxine. These hormones influence your metabolism in multiple ways. They help you burn fat and impact your basal metabolic rate, the fat you burn when you’re not being active. Thyroid hormones also activate glucose production which supplies your body with energy. 

Thyroids also play a role in maintaining consistency in menstrual cycles and regulating body temperature. They tell your body to produce more hormones when you’re cold and less when you’re warm. Essentially, your body could not function without these hormones. The thyroid thus plays a huge role in the homeostasis of your body. 

What Are the Symptoms of Thyroid Problems?

Thyroid problems are either caused by an overproduction or underproduction of hormones. Hyperthyroidism is when your body produces too much and uses up its energy too fast. 

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Fatigue 
  • Fast heart rate 
  • Weight loss 
  • Anxiety

Hypothyroidism occurs when you don’t produce enough thyroid hormone. The side effects of this are:

  • Weight gain 
  • Weak muscles 
  • Slowed heart rate 
  • Depression

Some of the most common causes of thyroid problems are iodine deficiency, inflammation, tumors, lumps, and autoimmune diseases. Medical treatments like radiation can also lead to thyroid problems. Thyroid conditions are usually influenced by genetics and commonly occur in patients with a family history of them. Regardless, people with and without thyroid issues should aim to improve the health of their thyroid. 

How To Support a Healthy Thyroid

Many symptoms of thyroid problems resemble other health issues. For example, hypothyroidism has similar side effects to heart disease and diabetes. Similarly to these health issues, diet and exercise can help lessen the symptoms. Here’s how. 

How Diet Influences Thyroid Health

As we’ve mentioned, iodine deficiency is a contributing factor to thyroid problems. And your body cannot produce iodine on its own. So the only way to get more of it is through food like milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, and seafood. If you are significantly deficient, iodine supplements can also benefit your thyroid. 

As with many health conditions, junk food can be detrimental to your thyroid. These foods are filled with salt, which can lead to thyroid health risks like high blood pressure. Excess sugar over-activates your thyroid gland. This causes your hormones to burn out and stop working properly. Foods with high-fat content can also slow down the production of thyroid hormones. So cutting back on fatty, over-processed, and high-sugar foods can improve thyroid health. 

Some healthy foods can actually be detrimental to people with an existing thyroid problem. Cabbage, kale, watercress, cauliflower, rutabaga, soybeans, peanuts, and brussel sprouts can cause thyroid gland enlargement. The common thread between these foods is goitrogen. This chemical can hinder thyroid function. Luckily, goitrogen is most potent with raw foods, so cooking these foods will mostly rid them of their anti-thyroid properties. 

The Link Between Exercise and Thyroids

Another impactful way to boost thyroid health is through exercise. That’s because it increases your metabolism by amping up your heart rate. As thyroid hormones impact your metabolism, exercise can also improve your hormone production. Working out prevents weight gain, muscle loss, energy lulls, and depression—all symptoms of hypothyroidism. 

If you’ve experienced these symptoms or have a family history of thyroid problems, there are further steps you can take. Getting a thyroid blood test checks your blood for thyroid hormones and antibodies. If a problem is detected, you may be prescribed thyroid medication. As hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are very different conditions, they require different care plans. For example, those with an under-active thyroid may receive artificial hormone treatment. Patients with hyperthyroidism; however, need medication to decrease hormone levels. 

Keep Your Thyroid Healthy

Taking care of your thyroid is imperative whether you have a thyroid condition or not.  Any lifestyle change towards better thyroid health is good for your overall health. Eating iodine-rich foods and exercising are excellent ways to prevent hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. So keep tabs on potential symptoms and do all you can to maximize the health of one of the most important glands in your body.

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What You Need to Know for the 2022-2023 Flu Season

woman sitting on a couch sick with the flu

The 2022-2023 flu season is underway and it’s already been a brutal one. Hospitals are filling up with cases of the flu, Covid, and respiratory syncytial virus. With the holiday season afoot, this trio of contagious viruses can be distressing. How can you tell which one you have? Or if you have a combination? Let’s unblur the lines of these illnesses and identify what symptoms you should look out for.

Breaking Down the Flu, Covid, and RSV

When you catch the flu you may experience mild symptoms such as sinus and ear infections. But potentially fatal complications can also arise. This includes pneumonia or tissue inflammation. Flu can infect the respiratory tract and cause severe inflammatory reactions. This can lead to sepsis, the body’s potentially fatal response to infection. Furthermore, flu can exacerbate existing medical conditions like asthma or heart disease.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has also been spreading rapidly this year. RSV is an illness that infects the lungs, nose, throat, and breathing passages. It’s most common among babies and young children. But RSV is also known to infect immunocompromised and elderly patients. Mild cases of RSV consist of flu-like symptoms. More severe cases can lead to bronchiolitis or pneumonia.

Along with flu and RSV, contracting Covid is also a major risk this holiday season. So what are the similarities and differences between these ailments? All three are respiratory-related illnesses with symptoms of cough, fever, and runny nose. Getting the flu or Covid can also come with body aches, chills, headache, and sore throat. Covid alone may cause shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, diarrhea, and nausea. Those with RSV may notice a loss of appetite. People tend to recover from the flu in less than a week. But Covid can last up to two weeks and be infectious for prolonged periods.

You can have one or more of these illnesses at the same time. And catching one virus may cause you to contract another. RSV can increase your risk of getting Covid since it lowers your immunity. Plus Covid and the flu can both be asymptomatic, which means you can spread it without even knowing. Testing is crucial to confirm the proper diagnosis and select the right treatment. The bottom line is all these viruses are contagious. So if you have any of them, you must distance yourself from others. 

What To Do if You Get the Flu

There are several things you can do to stay healthy and even shorten the flu infection period. Staying hydrated with lots of water is ideal. Other liquids like black tea, orange juice, and low-sugar sports drinks work too. Stay away from milk, alcohol, coffee, and high-sugar drinks. These may cause excess mucus, dehydration, or inflammation.

There is no foolproof way of curing the flu. But taking medications and supplements may help. Antiviral drugs like Tamiflu, Relenza, Rapivab, and Xofluza can shorten the infection. Using decongestants and antihistamines relieve swollen nasal passages and lozenges for sore throats.

One of the most important pieces of advice from doctors is to rest at home. “Staying home will help in two ways,” says Maryrose Laguio-Vila, MD, an Infectious Disease Specialist with Rochester Regional Health. “It will prevent you from spreading the flu to other people—keeping them healthy and reducing the potential number of people who might need to visit urgent care or hospital for their symptoms. Staying home will also allow you to rest better, leading to a full recovery.” This will require you to take time off from work or miss out on holiday get-togethers. But all in all, it’s better to keep everyone safe.

Is It Too Late To Get the Flu Shot?

Flu season usually occurs throughout the fall and winter. While influenza viruses travel all year, activity often peaks between December and February. But this flu season currently boasts over 50,000 cases per week in New York and is predicted to last until May 2023. 

Fall is the best time to get vaccinated against the flu. Ideally, you should receive your vaccine by the end of October. But with so many cases and infectious viruses going around, getting the flu shot is still worth it. As winter is upon us, peak flu season is just around the corner. Since the vaccine takes two weeks to set in, getting vaccinated now can protect you when it’s most rampant.

How the Flu Vaccine Can Benefit You

Flu vaccinations defend against the four influenza viruses: A, B, C, and D. They protect your body by inducing an immunological response. This creates antibodies against the virus. This year’s flu shot reportedly provides 50% efficacy against the major flu strain. Getting the shot doesn’t mean you won’t have the flu at some point this season. But it does significantly reduce your chances of catching a severe case.

Most flu vaccines are administered through a needle, generally in the arm. For those who fear needles, there is also the option for a nasal spray vaccine. Research has shown that getting the flu vaccination and a Covid injection simultaneously is perfectly safe.

Protect Your Loved Ones by Getting Vaccinated

Whether you’ve already had the flu, currently have it, or are trying to avoid it, we all just want to stay healthy this season. That’s why taking preventative measures and recognizing early flu symptoms is essential. So take care this holiday season and avoid gatherings if you detect an illness. And for those who haven’t gotten a flu vaccination yet—make an appointment as soon as you can!

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How To Manage Weight Gain as You Get Older

women sitting in front of a scale

One of the biggest disadvantages of getting older is that it becomes much easier to gain weight. When we’re young and spry, we can get away with having 3 glasses of wine or 4 slices of pizza with little consequence. But as age increases, our bodies aren’t so forgiving of naughty eating habits like this.

So why is it that we can eat the same things with drastically different results depending on where we are in life? We could be getting regular exercise and eating in moderation most of the time, but our dietary splurges still seem to increase the scale more than they did in our early 20s. Let’s learn why we gain weight when we get older and tips for managing and preventing this phenomenon.

What Causes Weight Gain as We Get Older?

There are many forces working against our ability to maintain a healthy weight in middle age. One of which is changing hormone levels for both men and women. Men and women experience a drop in the reproductive hormones testosterone and estrogen, respectively.

Here’s why each of these hormones is influential for maintaining a healthy weight and why the absence of them causes us to gain weight during middle age.

Lower Levels of Testosterone and Estrogen

Estrogen and testosterone encourage muscle mass growth and enhance fat storage use. That’s why when you gain weight in your younger years, you are better able to disguise it and bounce back from it. When these hormone levels drop, both men and women start developing more fat. This is especially true around their midsections. This redistribution of fat is one of the most recognizable markers of middle age weight gain.

Testosterone binds to fat and prevents it from gathering in unwanted places. It also helps keep metabolism high and restricts insulin sensitivity—thus preventing diabetes. Testosterone is at its highest in puberty and starts to decrease around 30. Men then become vulnerable to midsection weight gain and health problems like heart disease.

The effect that estrogen levels have on women is similar to testosterone in that it peaks at puberty and starts to decline with age. Estrogen plays an important role in maintaining cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It also contributes to blood circulation, collagen production, and brain function. Estrogen is heavily linked to females’ menstruation cycles and fertility. When estrogen levels drop, women are less able to get pregnant or ovulate.

When estrogen levels decrease during menopause, women often develop extra fat around their midsection. Though it may appear to be weight gain, this redistribution of fat is not always added pounds. It is, however, a common and often unwelcome side effect of getting older.

Muscle Mass Loss

Losing muscle mass is an inevitable part of getting older and can be a large contributor to why we gain weight when we age. This process is called sarcopenia and starts around the age of 30. Sarcopenia causes you to lose 3-8% of your muscle mass every 10 years. Once you turn 60, the rate of decline increases even more.

With muscle mass loss comes side effects like increased fat mass. This in turn causes changes in body composition. It can also make you more vulnerable to insulin resistance, decreased bone density, and joint stiffness. Muscle mass loss may increase your risk for serious health conditions. These include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Slowed Down Metabolism

Muscle mass is the largest determiner of how fast your metabolism rate is. Metabolism processes when your body converts food into energy. Blood circulation, digestion, and waste elimination are all parts of the metabolic process.

Similar to estrogen and testosterone production, metabolisms are fastest during youth. But the older you get, the less energy (or calories) your metabolism needs to run itself. Over our life span, we tend to develop eating habits that don’t change as our bodies do. So when our food intake doesn’t decrease, the excess energy we supply our metabolisms with can result in weight gain.

How To Prevent Weight Gain as You Age

While gaining weight becomes easier, losing weight proves more challenging with age. That’s why we have to develop new lifestyles and dieting habits to counteract this. Here are some tips on how to prevent weight gain as you age.

Get Active the Fun Way

Exercise is an essential part of maintaining a healthy weight. But many people find it to be a chore once they get older and preoccupied with other tasks. That’s why it’s important to find an exercise that you actually like doing.

Did you used to play a sport in your youth but your busy life, job, and family life put a wrench in this pastime? If this activity still has a positive place in your memories, why not start up again?

Find an adult league in your community or search for a local group online. This will help you find people who are also motivated to stay active. And it will allow you to relive the happy times you had while tricking yourself to exercise!

Challenge Your Eating Habits

Gaining weight often comes from an unwillingness to change the way we ate as a younger person. Similarly to having an emotional connection with the sports you used to play, you can have an emotional attachment to the foods you used to eat.

Do you have a latte every morning because that’s what you’ve always done? Or do you have a scoop of ice cream every night because it reminds you of college? Oftentimes we find ourselves stuck in old habits because they bring us comfort. But ditching this habit doesn’t mean we have to ditch the happiness these snacks brought us.

If you practice food journaling, take note of the foods that you often find yourself indulging in. If you consume certain high-fat or sugary foods daily, cut your intake down to weekly or bi-monthly. That way you still get that rush of instant gratification and positive memories every once in a while. Just without the added weight gain that they’ve been causing you in recent years.

Get a Better Nights Sleep

Life gets hectic, we get busy, and our sleep schedule suffers. But even if 8 hours of sleep seems unrealistic, prioritizing weight loss means that you have to make time for it. Lack of sleep could be contributing to your weight gain.

Skipping hours of sleep can give you a bigger appetite, which of course causes you to eat more. This is likely provoked by how sleep deprivation affects your hormones. When out of sorts, your hormones are less able to signal hunger and fullness the way they should.

Additionally, less sleep can cause you to seek foods that are higher in calories and fat. So make it your mission to go to bed earlier or wake up at a later time. This way you’ll be less tempted to overindulge or reach for junk food.

Change Your Habits to Decrease Your Weight

There are many unfair things about getting older. One of which is becoming more vulnerable to weight gain. Changing hormone levels, muscle mass loss, and slowing metabolisms can be a catalyst, but they certainly don’t have to get in the way of attaining optimal health.

The harsh reality of growing older is that you can no longer live or eat the way you used to. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever treat yourself to a cupcake or that you have to exercise all the time. You just have to find a way to enjoy doing more physical activity, get more sleep and scale back on the foods that you may be indulging in too often. If you follow these tips, you can better fight off the factors that are causing you to gain weight as you age.

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