If you or your parent assumes that the only warning signs of a heart attack or cardiovascular disease are pain in the left arm and the feeling of an elephant on your chest, you may be surprised to learn that you don’t know all of the warning signs of heart disease. Research indicates there is not one clearly defined symptom in every person that provides a diagnosis of cardiovascular issues.
However, if mom or dad is over 60, and have any chronic illnesses including diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, these are all factors that may contribute to heart disease. If treatment is provided for any of these medical conditions, it is important that your parent follows the doctor’s orders to prevent any damage to their heart. Home care agencies can provide caregivers to assist with monitoring diet and medication as required.
It’s important to become acquainted with additional signs of heart of disease, such as:
- Angina: A shortage of oxygen-rich blood flowing to the heart. Often the cause of this condition is stress by mental or physical components. In men, the pain is like a squeeze in the chest that may run up the arm. However, for women, it’s more like a burning chest pain that may move into the stomach, throat, neck, back or jaw. As plaque builds up in the arteries, the pain increases.
- Sleep Apnea: If your parent snores, experts at your local in home care agency may warn that your loved one is experiencing sleep apnea, which causes a stop in breathing during sleep. Although very brief, if this becomes regular it will affect the brain and other vital organs, including the heart.
- Fluid Retention: Swollen legs and hands may be a sign that the heart is not working at its highest capacity. When the heart is not functioning correctly, it will not pump blood fast enough, and will cause fluid or water buildup in the legs. This is dangerous, and your parent will need treatment immediately if he or she experience this kind of fluid retention.
Although your parent may not want to call 911 every time they experience stomach pain, indigestion, severe heartburn or nausea, these are all signs of a possible heart attack, specifically in women. Being able to identify the difference between regular indigestion and abnormal stomach pains may be the key to saving their lives.
Work with a Caregiver
Having a caregiver present when a loved one experiences a heart attack can save their life. By calling 991 right away, a caregiver can get your loved one the help he/she needs as soon as possible.