When an older adult has a heart attack it can leave family members feeling scared and uncertain. They may have many questions about why the person had a heart attack and what they can do to prevent another in the future. Knowing the answers to these questions may put you more at ease and help you to prepare for the senior’s future care.
Causes of a Heart Attack
Heart attacks happen when something blocks blood from getting to the heart. Most of the time, this is caused by substances that build up on the walls of arteries, such as fat and cholesterol. When the tissues of the heart don’t receive enough blood, they are damaged, which causes the symptoms associated with a heart attack.
While that’s technically how a heart attack happens, it’s not really the cause. Heart attacks are caused by all kinds of health factors, many of which are controllable. In fact, researchers have identified 9 risk factors associated with heart disease that they say are the cause of about 90 percent of all heart attacks. Most people who have a heart attack have at least one of the following risk factors:
- Obesity, particularly in the abdomen.
- High cholesterol.
- High blood pressure.
- Not eating enough fruits and vegetables.
- Not drinking any alcohol at all.
- Lack of physical activity.
Heart Attack Prevention
Because many of the risk factors associated with heart attack are things your aging relative can control, it is possible to prevent a second heart attack. Some of the things that can be done to reduce the chances of having another heart attack are:
- Manage Existing Conditions: If the older adult has conditions that increase the risk for heart attack, like high blood pressure, keeping the problem under control can make a big difference. If the senior is having trouble keeping blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar levels within healthy limits, talk to the doctor about changing their treatment plan and what they can do to regain control.
- Lose Weight: It’s never too late to lose weight. Seniors can lose weight in much the same way that people of any other age can. The key is to consume fewer calories than they expend. One way to do that is by eating lower calorie foods, like fruits and vegetables, which also helps with one of the other controllable risk factors. Then, they’ll need to be physically active to burn more calories—and that takes care of another risk factor, too!
- Reduce Stress: There are lots of things that older adults may worry about, like their health, having help when they need it, or being isolated from people and activities they enjoy. Finding ways to alleviate those worries can relieve a lot of their stress.
Elder care providers can assist with lower risk for heart attack in many ways. Elder care providers can remind seniors to take the medications used to treat existing conditions so that they are better controlled. Elder care providers can also cook healthy, low-calorie meals that include lots of fruits and vegetables to aid with weight loss and keep the heart healthier. And, knowing that they have an elder care provider they can rely on for help on a regular basis can help to relieve some of the stress they may be feeling.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Elder Care Aventura , FL please contact the caring staff at Elite Care at Home today at (305) 231-0555.