With matters of the heart being top of mind in February, it’s only fitting that we observe National Heart Month with a few words about cardiovascular health during the senior living years.
Let’s start with the good news: you can reduce the risk of heart attacks substantially with lifestyle changes and medication. Now, the bad news: heart attacks are the number one cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of death in older persons.
Know the symptoms for rapid response
A heart attack occurs when blood is blocked from reaching the heart, preventing it from getting sufficient oxygen. However, quickly restoring blood flow in the blocked artery can prevent permanent heart damage. That underscores the importance of calling 911 quickly when symptoms begin, so that emergency responders can start treatment before reaching the hospital.
Everyone should know the symptoms of a heart attack so they can call for medical assistance immediately. The American Heart Association lists these warning signs:
- Discomfort in the center of the chest, lasting for several minutes or going away and returning
- Discomfort in other upper body areas, namely one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
- Other signs including a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
In both men and women, chest discomfort is the most common symptom of a heart attack. But, women are more likely to experience the other symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea and back or jaw pain.
Older persons who have cardiovascular disease can benefit from care offered by a senior living home. A senior independent living community provides assurance that health care is just moments away, with transportation to doctor appointments and on-campus staff available 24/7 if needed. Residents of personal care (or assisted living) homes have access to those services, as well as support with activities of daily living, including medication oversight and a customized care plan.
At Country Meadows, we care about and assist our residents with all aspects of their health. If you or your loved one are choosing a retirement community near you and are interested in supportive health care, we invite you to contact us.
We would be glad to give you a tour any of our senior communities and introduce you to our full range of services. We have 10 retirement homes in Pennsylvania—in Lancaster, Hershey, Mechanicsburg, Pittsburgh, Wyomissing, York-South, York-West, Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton—as well as a retirement community in Frederick, MD.