Helping Seniors Understand Heart Failure

Elder Care in West Sacramento CAMillions of people suffer from heart failure on a chronic basis, with seniors being the most susceptible. Our bodies change as we age, and the cardiovascular system is one of the changes that can lead to a higher risk of heart failure. Knowing this, it’s important for the elder care team to provide valuable information about what heart failure is, including its causes and symptoms.

Heart Failure: What Is It?

Heart failure is the result of the heart’s inability to pump blood as efficiently as it should. This does not mean that the heart has stopped beating, although that’s what people may think. This causes an accumulation of fluid in the body, resulting in symptoms like exhaustion, edema in the legs, and swelling in the abdomen.

What Are the Root Causes of Heart Failure?

Heart failure can arise from a number of underlying medical conditions, such as:

  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): Heart attacks can result in heart muscle damage and heart failure due to narrowing or blockage of the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle.
  • Hypertension: Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can cause the heart muscle to deteriorate over time, especially if it’s left unchecked.
  • Cardiomyopathy: This term describes conditions affecting the heart muscle itself. Infections, excessive alcohol use, and genetics can all contribute to these conditions.
  • Other Factors: Living a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight, and having diabetes can all raise the risk of heart failure.

What are the Symptoms of Heart Failure?

Although each senior’s symptoms of heart failure are unique, common indications that elder care and loved ones can look for include:

  • Breathing difficulties, particularly when moving or lying down
  • Continuous wheezing or coughing
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Abdomen, ankles, or legs swelling
  • Accelerated or erratic heart rate
  • Diminished capacity for exercise

How Can Seniors Prevent Heart Failure?

Although not every situation is preventable, there are steps seniors can take to reduce their risk of heart failure, especially when they have the support of elder care and their loved ones by their side. For instance:

  • Medication Adherence: Seniors must take their prescribed medications exactly as their healthcare provider instructs in order to help control symptoms and prevent complications.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Leading a heart-healthy lifestyle, which includes eating a balanced diet low in sodium, exercising frequently, keeping a healthy weight, abstaining from smoking, and consuming moderate amounts of alcohol, can help control the symptoms of heart failure and enhance general health.
  • Frequent Medical Check-ups: Seniors with heart failure should schedule follow-up visits with their physician on a regular basis to discuss any concerns or changes in their symptoms, monitor their condition, and make any necessary medication adjustments.
  • Support System: Establishing a strong system of family, friends, home care, and medical professionals can offer seniors the motivation and help they require to manage the difficulties associated with heart failure.

Heart failure is a complicated illness that can have a big influence on seniors’ mobility, mental health, and general well-being. However, seniors with heart failure can have happy lives and keep their independence for as long as possible with the right management, which includes utilizing the tips above and leaning on home care and loved ones when needed.

If you or an aging loved one is considering Elder Care in West Sacramento, CA, please contact the caring staff at Aging Assistant today at (916) 897-4752