Elderly Heart Health: Managing Risks and Lifestyle
For the past 20 years, one out of four deaths that occur to people result from heart diseases. Annually, the number of Americans that die from heart disease problems is an estimated 610, 000. Out of the total number of these people, nearly half dies due to coronary heart disease, thus making it the most common type of heart diseases. Cardiovascular diseases are the class of diseases that pose the largest health threat in the world. One of the reasons of such situation is the fact that they are connected with peoples’ lifestyles. The diseases can be caused by the lack of physical activity or by the kind of food an individual eats (Mochari-Greenberger, Miller, & Mosca, 2012). In most societies, people do not care about what they eat as they are concerned with other matters like finding money. The other reason why cardiovascular diseases pose the greatest health risk to people in the world is because any person can get sick with them. Older people stand higher chances of getting these diseases as compared to young people.
According to the World Health Organization, most deaths that take place in the world result from cardiovascular diseases. However, it is imperative to note that Africa records the lowest number of people who die due to cardiovascular diseases. According to the WHO, the total number of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases as at December 2003 was above 17 million, which was equivalent to 32% of the total death rate (Veazie et al., 2014). The new percentage meant a rise in the percentage of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases as in the 1990s it was 25. The American Heart Association claims that 1 out of 4 deaths that occur in the country is caused by a heart disease with coronary heart disease being the most common. Deaths relating to cardiovascular diseases are on the increase in developing countries, while there is a decline in developed countries. It is imperative for people to know symptoms of heart diseases so that they could seek medical attention immediately. One of the signs that a person should be wary of is chest pains and in case a person experiences such pains, he or she should consult a medical practitioner.
Age is among factors that contribute to the occurrence of heart diseases in individuals. Aging increases the chances that a person might develop a heart disease. However, it is essential to note that a person can get a heart disease irrespective of their age due to other factors that increase chances of getting sick. According to the American Heart Association, four out of six persons who are reported to have died due to heart diseases are usually aged above 50 years (Tyagi et al., 2014). Doctors recommend that since it is evident that aging increases the chances of a person getting a heart disease, people should regularly go for medical checkups. It is during regular medical checkups that a doctor can recomment a person how to avoid a heart disease.
According to most cardiac doctors, there is a difference between a person who is immediately diagnosed with a heart disease problem and a person recently diagnosed after living for numerous years with the condition. There are normally high chances that a person with a heart disease problem who has lived with it for a long time will develop complications related to the illness (Muñoz et al., 2010). In addition, the person requires advanced methods of treating the problem due to its longevity in the body. For instance, the person may require surgery to help remove fatty deposits from arteries. On the contrary, it is easy for doctors to treat a person who has been diagnosed with a heart disease in its early stages. For instance, a person with a clot in arteries may be injected with a medication known as alteplase, which would help dissolve the clot. However, it is vital to note that such treatment method is useful and applicable only for people who are diagnosed with the heart disease at an early stage. There is a high possibility that the same treatment would be ineffective when applied to a person who has lived with the problem for a long time.
At an old age, it is important for a person to consult a doctor on a regular basis, which can help take the heart disease under control. There is a huge difference between an old person whose heart disease condition is controlled and a person whose condition is uncontrolled. A person whose heart problem condition is monitored and treated has an advantage when compared to the person whose condition has remained undiagnosed. One of such advantages is that it is easy for doctors to identify and act quickly should any complication arise (Muñoz et al., 2010). For instance, in case a person has stroke, doctors are in a position to identify a complication such as bleeding in the brain. In this scenario, a person whose condition is monitored has higher chances of surviving as compared to a person whose condition is not controlled. Most deaths that occur because of heart disease complications happen to those people who do undergo medical checkups. They simply miss vital symptoms of their disease complication. Heart diseases such as stroke require a person to identify signs of this condition at an early stage due to its severity. Stroke is among diseases that belong to the cardiovascular class. Doctors consider stroke to be the most dangerous cardiovascular disease due to its seriousness. A person suffers from stroke when the blood flow to the brain gets cut off. It is vital that a person with stroke gets required medical attention in order to limit threats caused by the attack.
It is important for a person to understand the dynamics of how age is related with heart diseases. With old age, person’s blood vessels become less flexible and, thus, it is hard for blood to flow through them. In addition, person’s artery walls start having fatty deposits referred to as plaques that have the effect of slowing the flow of blood in the heart. Another thing that increases the chance of getting a heart disease is the lack of physical exercise (Sydo et al., 2014). In most cases, older people have a problem with engaging in physical exercises due to factors such as muscle tiredness. People aged above 65 years are in danger of getting heart diseases as they can barely move. Many older people have poor eating habits as they lack the strength for making a healthy meal, which increases their chances of developing a heart disease.
For elderly patients diagnosed with a heart disease, appropriate nutrition is one of the best methods of fighting with the disease. Food a person eats is important as it helps control other heart disease risk factors like diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. It is imperative for an individual to choose a diet that is rich in nutrients. Some nutrients that a person should consume are minerals, fiber, and vitamins (Sydo et al., 2014). Other important nutrients that an elderly person should have present in the meals are low-calorie nutrients. An elderly person should have a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, proteins, low fats, and high fiber. In order to preserve healthy weight, elder people diagnosed with a heart disease should coordinate their physical exercises and diet. Reducing cholesterol levels in their meals is helpful when trying to fight a potential heart disease condition.