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Top 4 Risk Factors for Heart Disease in the Elderly

The American Heart Association estimates 42 million seniors over the age of 60 have some form of heart disease. You can help protect your loved one’s health by learning about some of the risk factors for the condition, and the Westfield at-home care experts at Home Care Assistance have put together a list of some of the major ones to be aware of.

1. High Blood Pressure

The measure of blood force pushing against the walls of the arteries is known as blood pressure. When this number rises to 140/90 or greater, high blood pressure is diagnosed. High blood pressure forces the heart to work harder than it should, damages the arteries, and causes the muscle walls of the heart to stiffen. Eating a diet low in sodium, exercising regularly, and taking prescribed blood pressure medications can help reduce your loved one’s blood pressure.

2. Obesity

Abdominal obesity is becoming more frequent in the elderly. Being obese and having a large waistline causes the organs in the abdomen to not work properly. The more your loved one weighs, the harder his or her heart must work to pump blood through the body. Encourage your loved one to maintain a healthy weight to keep his or her heart healthy.

3. Diabetes

If your loved one has diabetes or insulin resistance, he or she is twice as likely to have a heart attack or be diagnosed with heart disease. When blood sugar levels are too high, it can cause the arteries in the heart to harden, making it more difficult for blood to flow through. Managing blood sugar levels with a healthy diet, exercise, and medications can decrease the effect diabetes has on your loved one’s heart.

4. Dyslipidemia

A certain amount of lipids, or fats, are necessary for the body to work properly. Dyslipidemia occurs when the lipid levels in the blood become too high. The high levels of lipids can bond together and block the flow of blood, causing a heart attack. Keeping cholesterol levels within a healthy range by eating a diet high in fiber and low in saturated fats can decrease the lipid level in your loved one’s bloodstream.

Since eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are two of the best ways to reduce the risk of heart disease, make sure these are part of your loved one’s daily routine. If he or she needs help maintaining these healthy habits, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to assist with these and many other important tasks. We also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and stroke care in Westfield. For more information, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 908.450.9400 today to schedule a complimentary consultation.