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Heart Health for Seniors

Protect Senior Heart Health During American Heart Month
Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, especially among seniors, it is important for caregivers to know the facts.

17.3 million deaths each year are caused by heart disease. Seniors are especially prone to cardiovascular complications. Learn about heart health to protect against this threat. In 1964, more than half of American deaths were the result of cardiovascular disease. Although this percentage has decreased, heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States. Every February is designated as American Heart Month by the federal government to encourage individuals to learn about, prevent, and address heart problems. Since seniors are especially at risk, it is important that caregivers understand heart disease.
(The American Heart Association)

 

Types of Heart Health Problems
There are a wide variety of heart health problems. Cardiovascular disease is a term used to broadly describe the plethora of problems that can impair the cardiovascular system.

Specific cardiac issues include, but are not limited to:

Diabetes
Hypertension
High Cholesterol
Cardiomyopathy
Arrhythmia
Valve Problems
Pericarditis
Stroke
Heart Attack
Heart Failure

While some of these conditions are manageable, others can be fatal if they are not handled properly. It is vital for seniors and caregivers to learn the signs of heart problems.

Tips for Heart Healthy Caregiving
Treatment for heart disease varies according to the specific illness. Some treatments are as simple as dieting. Others may require medication. In general, caring for an individual with heart problems will require lifestyle changes. Caregivers can help seniors protect their hearts by:
• Reducing sources of stress
• Providing a heart-healthy diet
• Encouraging rest and taking physical activity slowly
• Creating low level exercise regimens
• Offering medication reminders
• Watching for signs of change in heart and health

 

For some seniors, heart disease can create fear and stress. Caregivers can offer support by remaining positive and offering solutions to reduce stress levels. Heart disease is not an immediate death sentence. A long life can be achieved through lifestyle changes in many cases.

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