Heart disease is the leading cause of death of both men and women in the United States. Different forms of the disease include: heart attack, congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure, and coronary heart diseases.
In honor of February as American Heart Month, Home Care Assistance of Cincinnati, OH wanted to share some facts about heart disease. Information about related conditions can help seniors and older adults maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle that promotes longevity and quality of life.
- About half of all adults have at least one risk factor for heart disease.
People with high blood pressure or cholesterol, diabetes, depression, or extra weight are at a higher risk for getting some form of heart disease. In order to lower the risk, seniors should not smoke and should consume alcoholic beverages in moderation, eat healthy, be active, and closely manage health conditions diabetes and stress.
- Different tests are used to confirm and assess heart disease.
If you find out your aging parent or loved one has heart disease or feel he or she is at risk, two tests will likely be recommended to confirm and assess heart disease: electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) and stress tests. There are also other tests such as chest x-rays, echocardiograms, CT heart scans and MRIs, which can aid in proper evaluation.
- Chest pain is not the only sign of a heart attack.
While pain and discomfort in the chest are common during a heart attack, other symptoms include nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, and pain anywhere in the upper body, even the jaw. Some may even experience pain in the arms and legs.
- “Heart failure” means the heart is not working as well, not that it has stopped.
When experiencing heart failure, the heart is not pumping and regulating blood flow the way it should. Salt and water retention then cause swelling and a shortness of breath.
- Women and men may experience heart disease differently.
Most men suffer from coronary heart disease (plaque build-up), whereas women tend to experience ischemia (blood vessels that do not dilate and constrict properly). There are also varying outcomes and treatments depending on gender.
Knowledge is power. The more you know about heart disease risk, the better equipped you will be to help your loved one live a heart-healthy lifestyle. For more information about heart health, reach out to the Cincinnati stroke care experts at Home Care Assistance and learn how our caregivers are helping their clients live active, balanced and healthy lives. Call 513-891-2273 and request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.