Feb 9, 2018 by Linnea Frericks
According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death in the world, accounting for almost 18 million fatalities each year. In the United States, heart disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women with one in four deaths, or roughly 610,000, deaths attributed to heart disease each year. This February, designated American Heart Month, Comfort Keepers would like to encourage seniors and their loved ones to learn more about heart disease, including its risks, signs, and methods of prevention.
Heart disease is a term used to describe several types of heart conditions, including coronary artery disease, heart attacks, coronary heart disease, arrhythmias, and peripheral arterial disease. Of these, coronary heart disease is the most common of these conditions and is responsible for over half of the deaths associated with heart disease.
Many factors contribute to an individual's risk of heart disease, including
Family history Obesity Diabetes
High blood pressure High LDL cholesterol Smoking
Drinking alcohol Poor diet Lack of regular exercise
While some of these risk factors, such as family history of heart disease, cannot be changed, the majority of risk factors can be reduced or eliminated through positive lifestyle modifications. In fact, just by starting a regular exercise routine, reducing sodium intake in the diet, and eating more healthy food choices a senior can significantly reduce their risk of heart disease. For seniors who need help with these or any other changes, a Comfort Keepers caregiver can provide the support, assistance, and encouragement needed.
Seniors and their loved ones should also understand the common signs of a heart attack. These include:
Pain or discomfort in the chest
Pain or discomfort in the arms, the left shoulder, jaw, or back
Difficulty breathing or a shortness of breath
Nausea or vomiting
Breaking into a cold sweat
If these symptoms suddenly appear, call 911 and seek immediate medical attention.
By understanding the risks of heart disease and taking the steps to avoid them, seniors can reduce their risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. By understanding the warning signs of a heart attack, seniors significantly increase their odds of surviving one.
This American Heart Month, join with Comfort Keepers and spread the word about heart disease. It is brutal, but it is also highly preventable. For more information about heart disease or the many ways Comfort Keepers in-home care providers can help your senior loved one create a safe and independent lifestyle, contact a senior home care coordinator today.
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