February is the month in which Valentine’s Day occurs. It also just so happens that February is American Heart Month.

During American Heart Month, we focus our attention on raising awareness about heart disease and other issues that affect this critical organ, as well as the importance of improving and maintaining good cardiovascular health.

Consequently, February is an excellent time for caregivers and those they care for to learn more about heart disease, what causes it, and symptoms of it, and related problems.

Heart Disease: What It Is and Some Facts About It

Heart disease is a fairly broad term encompassing various conditions that affect the heart. The most common use of heart disease refers to coronary artery disease (CAD), which is damage or disease in the heart’s major blood vessels.

CAD occurs when plaque builds up in the heart’s arteries, causing them to narrow and harden. This restricts blood flow and can lead to heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, angina (chest pain), and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both the United States and the world at large. Many of these deaths are preventable with proper measures, according to the CDC.

Heart Disease Risk Factors

Many things can increase your risk of heart disease. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle 

Symptoms of Heart Disease

Despite there being several forms of heart disease, they share several common signs and symptoms. You may have an emergency situation if you see or experience the following:

  • Chest pain, discomfort, or pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Irregular heartbeat/palpitations
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Pain in arms, back, jaw, neck, upper body, or upper stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained sweating or cold sweats

How to Reduce Chances of Heart Disease

Some assume that heart disease is a natural part of aging. It’s true that the body isn’t as strong as it is when young, but seniors can strengthen their cardiovascular system and reduce their risk in a number of ways.

  • Get regular exercise
  • Eat a heart-healthy, balanced diet
  • Reduce stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Visit the doctor regularly for checkups
  • Get sufficient sleep

How Home Care Helps With Heart Attack Recovery and Similar Health Issues

Heart attacks are terrifying experiences, and recovering from them requires a lot of care. 

That’s where home care professionals can be of great help.

In 2020, a study found that heart attack survivors are less likely to be readmitted to the hospital within the first month of recovery if they received home care.

Caregivers can make sure the patient gets enough rest to recover properly. Once they’re ready for physical activity again, they can gently ease them into physical activity, such as walking around the house and slowly walking up and downstairs. At the same time, caregivers can also help with more strenuous activities, such as chores, until the patient is ready to do it themselves.

Once they’re able to do more physical activity, the caregiver can help them start lightly exercising. Along with that, they can make sure the patient eats a healthy diet to reduce the risk of future issues.

Lastly, there are often mental health issues to deal with after a heart attack. Given the terrifying experience, many survivors develop anxiety and emotional stress, which could lead to depression. Caregivers are there every step of the way to reassure them and help them deal with these problems.

At Angels On Call, we have plenty of skilled home caregivers and home health professionals on staff experienced in helping those who have heart health problems. They’re able to make sure you or your loved one is eating healthily, resting properly, taking their medications if any, and getting an appropriate amount of physical activity. Contact us today to learn how we can help.