According to the CDC over 600 thousand people die of complications due to heart disease here in the United States every year. That’s one in every four deaths. Sadly, seniors are at much higher risk than younger individuals. Why? Because the risk of heart disease in seniors is multiplied by several health conditions that aging individuals commonly suffer from, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
But it’s never too late to take good care of your heart. In fact, relatively simple life changes can have a dramatic effect in a short amount of time. For instance, quitting smoking can reduce the risk of recurring heart attack and cardiovascular death in seniors who already suffer from heart disease by 50%.
Know the risk factors. Know the signs and symptoms. Know the steps you can take to help prevent heart disease in the seniors you love.
Risk Factors for Heart Disease
The three top risk factors for developing heart disease are:
High Blood Pressure
Nearly half of all Americans exhibit at least one of these preventable risk factors.
Other less-common risk factors include:
Diminished Physical Activity
Unfortunately, many seniors suffer from one or more of these conditions, putting them at much higher risk of heart disease than younger individuals.
How to Spot a Heart Attack
While heart attacks aren’t the only complication stemming from heart disease, they are one of the most deadly. Every year 735 thousand Americans suffer heart attacks. Unfortunately nearly half of all the fatal heart attacks occur outside the hospital because most victims don’t recognize or respond fast enough to early warning signs. One 2005 study found that only 27% of people know all of the symptoms of a heart attack.
Upper Body Pain (arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach)
Shortness of Breath
While chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack, not all patients have it. In fact, women are much more likely to report other symptoms like sweating and lightheadedness.
Never hesitate — if you suspect you or a loved one is having a heart attack, dial 911 immediately!
Preventing Heart Disease in Seniors
Here in parts of Texas the prevalence of heart disease in seniors is much lower than other places in the United States. However, that doesn’t mean that we can afford to ignore the risk. As with many other health conditions prevention is the best course of action.
The first step in combating heart disease in seniors is knowing what you can do. Below are a number of positive actions steps you can take to help your aging loved one decrease their risk of heart disease.
Eat Healthier – Decreasing sodium intake can help control blood pressure. Reducing bad cholesterol (LDL Cholesterol) can help reduce the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries.
Control Diabetes – If your loved one hasn’t been tested yet they should. It’s estimated that 29.1 million or 1 in 11 Americans have some form of the disease. Many don’t even know they have it.
Quit Smoking – The CDC estimates that smoking causes 1 in 3 deaths related to cardiovascular disease. Beat the habit to stay healthier longer.
Manage Blood Pressure – People with high blood pressure are three times more likely to die from a heart attack. Speak with your healthcare professional and use diet and exercise, prescription medications, and stress-reduction therapies to manage blood pressure.
Helping Your Loved Ones Live Healthier
Second Family Home Care provides non-medical in home care for individuals aging in place. We can work with you to help your loved one make the healthy life changes they need in order to protect them from heart disease and help them live love and happy lives.
Contact Second Family Home Care to schedule a consultation or call (972) 347-0700 today.