If you attend doctor appointments with your aging relative, you may hear the doctor talk about heart disease. The term may seem simple at first. Obviously, it refers to diseases of the heart. Yet, it’s not a very specific term, leaving a lot of information unclear. What part of the heart is affected? How is it affected? Who gets heart disease? Knowing more about what heart disease is and how older adults may be affected could help you to take better care of your family member.
About Heart Disease
As you may have suspected, heart disease isn’t a term used to describe just one condition. Instead, it is a blanket term used to refer to a whole group of health problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, it encompasses:
- Blood vessel diseases.
- Arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats.
- Congenital heart defects.
- Other heart problems.
Although many people use the term “cardiovascular diseases” to talk about heart disease, the two are a bit different. Usually, doctors use “cardiovascular disease” to talk about conditions that involve arteries that are narrow or have blockages. Heart disease is a broader term.
Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Regardless of the type of heart disease, the risk factors are largely the same. Risk factors common to many kinds of heart disease include:
- High cholesterol.
- Excess body weight.
- Not being physically active.
- Eating an unhealthy diet.
- Drinking too much alcohol.
- Poor hygiene habits.
- Heart Disease Symptoms
The symptoms a person with heart disease experiences depends on the kind of heart disease they have. For example, someone with arrhythmia might experience a fluttering feeling in their chest, feel dizzy, and short of breath. But, someone with atherosclerosis might have chest pain, pain in their neck or jaw, and shortness of breath.
Doctors recommend that people who have concerns about their heart health talk to a doctor. In addition, if any of the following symptoms occur, they should seek emergency assistance:
- Chest pain.
- Shortness of breath.
Elderly care can help your aging relative to reduce their risk of heart disease by assisting them in managing existing conditions and making lifestyle changes. Elderly care providers can remind older adults to take medications, which will keep the conditions under better control. Elderly care providers can also prepare healthy, balanced meals that support heart health and assist with weight management. And, if your older family member spends too much time sitting, having an elderly care provider could encourage them to get up and move more. Elderly care providers can go for walks with them or simply engage them in activities around the house.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Hamilton, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.