Caring for a senior loved one can be a scary job, especially since there are so many things that could go wrong. One of these potential things could be heart failure, which is when the heart stops functioning the way it could.
This is very serious, and should be treated right away.
This possibility doesn’t have to be so scary, though, if you know the signs and symptoms of heart failure before it hits. Here is a list of some of the ways that heart failure can present itself. If you notice the elderly person in your care having any of these symptoms, take them to the doctor or the emergency room as soon as possible.
- Tiredness – Unusual fatigue and weariness can be a sign that the weakening heart is too busy pumping blood to the brain and heart to pump enough blood to the arm and leg muscles the senior is using to carry out their daily tasks, making them feel weak and overworked.
- Coughing – Coughing on its own might not be a symptom of heart failure, but if the cough is persistent, and is accompanied by white or pink mucus, this could be a sign that there is fluid in the lungs caused by other problems in the chest cavity.
- Shortness of breath – When blood isn’t flowing through the heart and the veins as it should, it gets stuck in the chest, causing the lungs to fill with fluid. This can make it hard to breathe, and can cause the cough described above.
- Swelling – Inexplicable swelling in the legs, feet, stomach, or other body parts could be a sign that the blood is not flowing properly, and is causing a backup in the kidneys. This causes fluid retention throughout the rest of the body, which causes swelling.
- Confusion – If you find that the elderly loved one in your care is suddenly having problems remembering things or concentrating, this could be a sign that something is off. Lower levels of sodium and other substances carried by the blood can cause the brain to struggle to work properly, leading to confusion and disorientation.
- Racing heartbeat – A heart that isn’t working properly works extra hard to pump the blood through the veins. A racing heartbeat or heart palpitations could be a sign that the heart is in trouble, and requires a trip to the emergency room.
While many of these symptoms appear with other disorders, it is best to get them examined by a health care professional as soon as possible. Heart failure is very serious, and its signs should not be ignored. Many heart attacks and other heart episodes come as a surprise to the people who care for seniors, but if you are armed with this information, you will be better able to prevent something devastating from happening. Knowing is half the battle, and knowing which signs to look out for can help you to catch heart failure in its early stages, before it is too late.
If your senior loved one is dealing with heart failure or another medical condition that affects their ability to perform the activities of daily living, consider an elderly care provider to assist them on a regular basis.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Cranford, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care of New Brunswick today. Call (732) 607-8870.
Prior to assuming his current position, Judah served as assistant administrator at Atlantic Coast Rehab (Lakewood, NJ) as well as Hunterdon Care Center (Flemington, NJ)
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