According to the Mayo Clinic, getting older is one of the risk factors for having a heart attack. That means that older adults are more likely to have a heart attack than younger people. As a family caregiver to a senior, it’s important to know the signs of a heart attack so that you can get them the help they need.
Risk Factors for Heart Attack
Knowing if your older family member has additional risk factors for heart attack can help you to be more vigilant about watching for signs of a heart attack. In addition, it can allow you to look for ways to reduce their risks. Some risk factors for heart attack are:
- Tobacco Use: Tobacco use of any kind increases the chances of having a heart attack. If your aging relative uses tobacco, encourage them to quit.
- High Blood Pressure: Uncontrolled high blood pressure damages blood vessels.
- High Cholesterol: People with high cholesterol may develop narrowed arteries.
- Family History: Seniors who have other family members that have had heart attacks are more likely to have them as well.
- Lack of Exercise: Older adults who don’t engage in regular physical activity are putting themselves at risk for heart attack.
Heart Attack Warning Signs
People experience different symptoms of heart attack, but the common signs include:
- A pressure, pain, or squeezing sensation in the chest. It may spread to the arms, neck, jaw, or back.
- Digestive symptoms, like nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or pain in the abdomen.
- Feeling short of breath.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat.
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy.
The symptoms of a heart attack tend to be different between men and women. However, chest pain is the most common pain for both genders. Women, though, are more likely to have less dramatic symptoms, such as shortness of breath, back pain, jaw pain, or nausea and vomiting.
If you are concerned about your older family member having a heart attack, elderly care can stay with them when you are away. Not only can the elderly care provider watch for signs of a heart attack and call 911, but they can also assist the senior around the home by performing light housekeeping duties and preparing meals. Elderly care can also help your aging relative to manage medical conditions that may make a heart attack more likely, such as high blood pressure. An elderly care provider can remind them to take medications and follow other advice given by the doctor.