February is American Heart Month
, so now is a great time to talk to the older adults in your life about this serious issue.
“Because heart disease is the nation’s leading cause of death among older adults, it’s important to know the warning signs and options for treatment so that seniors and caregivers can protect themselves and their loved ones,” says to Dr. Luz Ramos-Bonner, InnovAge’s regional medical officer for the east coast.
Here are some questions and answers about two common heart health issues.
What is the difference between heart disease and heart failure?
, also known as coronary heart disease, is caused by plaque in your arteries, which hardens blood vessels and can result in a heart attack.
, or congestive heart failure, occurs when your heart cannot pump enough blood to all parts of your body. The resulting fluid buildup can cause your heart to fail, meaning your heartbeat may become too fast, too slow, or unsteady.
What are the warning signs your heart may be at risk?
High blood pressure, diabetes, and thyroid issues are some of the known health risks that may lead to heart disease or heart failure. Be sure to monitor your overall health and look out for these symptoms:
- Physical weakness and fatigue
- Heart palpitations
- Swelling in your legs and feet
- Weight gain
- Tightening of clothes and shoes
Call your doctor immediately if you have trouble breathing, or gain three pounds or more in three days.
Ask your doctors for help.
Schedule physical exams at least twice a year, talk to your doctor to review medications as needed, and consider blood work to monitor your condition.
For participants in the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
, your PACE care team
can help you manage your heart health and treat negative symptoms.
Treatment may include:
- Taking your medication as prescribed
- Daily exercise to lose weight
- Taking steps to decrease stress
- Consulting a dietitian to improve your diet and lower salt intake
through InnovAge PACE can help older adults maintain a healthy heart. Learn more about PACE services, including nutrition
, clinical exercise
, medication management
, and more