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4 Common Heart Conditions Seniors Are at Risk For

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

The heart is one of the most essential organs in the body, making it important for your elderly loved one to take proper care of it, either through prevention or with treatment after a condition has developed. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care in Chandler, has put together a list of common heart conditions your loved one may be at risk for .                     

1. Irregular Heartbeat

A slow, fast, or irregular heartbeat means the heart’s electrical system is not functioning properly. Typical symptoms include palpitations or “fluttering” in the chest, shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, and weakness. If you believe your loved one has an irregular heartbeat, ask his or her doctor about ordering an EKG or a 24-hour Holter monitor to check for arrhythmias. In many cases, an irregular heartbeat can be managed through medication. In severe cases, an implantable pacemaker or defibrillator may be required.

2. Heart Failure

As we age, our hearts can lose the ability to pump efficiently. This can lead to congestive heart failure, which is characterized by shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling of the lower extremities. The most common treatment is with medication to regulate blood pressure, the rate and strength of heart contractions, and fluids. You should encourage your loved one to see a doctor immediately if he or she has significant swelling in the legs and feet or a weight gain of two to three pounds in the space of a couple of days.

3. Angina

Often described as pain or tightness in the chest, angina is a sign the heart is not getting enough blood and oxygen. It can be an early sign of coronary artery disease, which can lead to a heart attack. EKGs, echo testing, and even coronary arteriography can be used to identify potential arterial blockages and determine their severity. The most common treatments are medications and surgery to remove the blockage.

4. Hypertension

As we get older, our arteries narrow, harden, and become less elastic. This causes the blood to flow through them with more force, a condition known as high blood pressure or hypertension. Over time, high blood pressure can damage blood vessels and lead to heart attacks or strokes. Your loved one can lower his or her chances of having high blood pressure by limiting salt intake, stopping smoking, and staying physically active.

If your loved one need helps maintaining a healthy lifestyle to keep his or her heart healthy, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to provide timely medication reminders, assist with exercise and meal prep, and help with many important daily tasks. For seniors who need more extensive assistance, we also offer Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care Chandler families trust. To learn more and to schedule a free in-home consultation, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 480.448.6215.