Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs when the large blood vessels that deliver blood to the heart are damaged. CAD is usually the result of plaque building up on artery walls or inflammation. The plaque, which is partially comprised of cholesterol, make the arteries narrow so that blood flow is restricted, and the heart is deprived of oxygen and nutrients. CAD is the most common type of heart disease, accounting for around 370,000 deaths each year. Because of its prevalence, it’s important to know whether your aging relative is at risk and how to spot the symptoms.
Risk Factors for CAD
There are several things that put a person at greater risk for CAD, such as:
- Gender: Men get CAD more often than women.
- History: People who have family members with CAD are at increased risk. This is especially true if the family member was diagnosed young.
- High Cholesterol.
- Excess Weight.
- Lack of Exercise.
- High Levels of Stress.
When CAD first starts, a person might not notice any symptoms. However, as the arteries become even more narrow, noticeable symptoms begin to appear, such as:
Chest Pain: Chest pain, also called angina, may present as pain or a feeling of tightness. The feeling usually occurs in the middle of the chest or on the left side. Angina is often brought on by physical activity or stress. Angina can also be a stabbing pain in the neck, back, or arm, especially in women.
Short of Breath: Because the heart is working harder to pump blood throughout the body, a person with CAD might feel short of breath or become extremely fatigued during physical activity.
Heart Attack: When an artery becomes totally blocked, it can cause a heart attack. The usual signs of a heart attack are a severe pain in the chest, shoulder or arm pain, sweating, and trouble breathing. Women may have different symptoms, like pain in their neck or jaw.
If you’re concerned about a senior loved one’s risk for CAD, leading a healthier lifestyle could prevent the condition or help manage it if the senior has already been diagnosed. A home care services provider can be an asset in changing the older adult’s lifestyle to manage risk.
Home care services providers can prepare healthy meals. They can also keep senior’s more physically active by going for walks with them, monitoring them while they exercise at home, or driving them to group fitness classes. Home care services providers can also watch for signs of CAD and get emergency help should it be needed.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Shadyside PA, please call and talk to the caring staff at Extended Family Care of Pittsburgh at (412) 693-6009. We will answer all of your questions.
Laura has earned her MBA in Health Care Administration from Canisius College, a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is currently a CPR/First Aid Instructor for the American Red Cross. Laura has sat on three Professional Advisory Committees throughout the community, has been on the Board of Directors for a non-profit nursing home, currently acts as an Advisory Board Member for the Allegheny County Respite Care Coalition, Gateway Health Plan, and the North Allegheny School District Elementary Advisory Council. She is also an active committee member of the Southwestern PA Partnership on Aging, Twilight Wish Foundation and Marshall Elementary Yearbook Committee.
Raising four active children with her husband Brian, she seems to spend more time on baseball and soccer fields than she does at home which helps her appreciate their family vacation time even more.
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