What Heart Conditions Are Seniors At High Risk For?

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What Heart Conditions Are Common in the Elderly?

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on February 1, 2016

Since complications of the heart are the leading cause of death for seniors, it’s important to make sure your loved one takes care of this important muscle by making healthy lifestyle decisions. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care in Scottsdale, has put together a list of common heart conditions and how to prevent or treat them.

Coronary Artery Disease

Also known as atherosclerosis, this condition is the result of plaque that has accumulated along artery walls. This reduces the amount of blood reaching the heart and brain and is especially problematic for a senior whose heart may already not be pumping efficiently. You can help your loved one prevent atherosclerosis by ensuring he or she eats a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Your loved one should also work closely with a doctor to monitor cholesterol levels and other cardiac risk factors.

High Blood Pressure

When we age, our blood vessels begin to harden and become less elastic. As a result, the pressure exerted against the artery walls increases as the blood moves through the body. This leads to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, especially after age 65. Encourage your loved one to check his or her blood pressure regularly and share the readings with a doctor. If your loved one is diagnosed with high blood pressure, a doctor or Scottsdale caregiver can help him or her manage the condition through a regimen of diet, exercise, and medication.

Heart Valve Disease

The heart contains four valves that help blood flow in the right direction. As we age, our valves can become less efficient and may not close properly. This can result in shortness of breath, irregular heart rhythms, and chest pain. Treatment depends on the severity of the problem. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to replace the valve.

Heart Attack and Stroke

Age-related changes to the body and heart disease can starve our hearts and brains for oxygen as we get older. When this happens, cells begin to die and a heart attack or stroke can occur. While the aging process cannot be reversed, you can reduce your loved one’s risk of heart attacks and strokes by encouraging him or her to stop smoking, limit alcohol intake, remain physically active, and maintain a healthy weight.

Though it may be difficult for some seniors to lead a healthy life, having a professional caregiver available to help can make it much easier. At Home Care Assistance, our caregivers can assist with regular exercise, preparing healthy meals, medication reminders, and much more. We also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s care in Scottsdale. For more information on how our in-home care services can promote your loved one’s health, call a Care Manager at 480.448.6215 today.