Cardiovascular disease generally encompasses a wide range of medical conditions involving narrow or blocked blood vessels, which can potentially lead to a heart attack or stroke. Many forms of the condition can be treated or prevented, but there are some risk factors you cannot control. If you do suffer from cardiovascular disease, you may be eligible for free home healthcare services to alleviate the stress of treatment and during recovery.
Statistics on Cardiovascular Disease in the Elderly
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains data on cardiovascular disease, and the statistics reveal disturbing prevalence:
- Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women, at a rate of around 610,000 people annually.
- Approximately 84 million people in the US are affected by different types of cardiovascular disease. Around 15 million adults specifically suffer from coronary heart disease.
- An estimated 78 million adults have high blood pressure and 20 million have diabetes, both of which increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease.
- In the U.S., cardiovascular disease causes more fatalities than cancer, respiratory diseases, and personal injury accidents combined.
Signs and Symptoms of Cardiovascular Disease
Healthcare providers have identified multiple symptoms that are clear warnings of cardiovascular disease and should not be ignored. The top signs include:
- Chest Pain or Discomfort: Tightness and pressure in the chest may indicate a blocked artery and/or heart attack.
- Heartburn or Indigestion: There may be many reasons for an upset stomach, but you should mention these symptoms to your physicians, especially if you experience any other signs of cardiovascular disease.
- Pain in the Jaw or Throat: If you experience chest pain that moves up into your throat or jaw, see a doctor immediately. Though there may be other factors, this could be a sign of cardiovascular disease or heart failure.
- Radiating Pain in the Left Side of the Body: A classic sign of heart attack is pain in the left arm, but cardiovascular disease can affect the entire side of the person’s body. The pain will typically start in the chest and move outward and downward.
- Irregular Heartbeat: A pronounced, continuous fluttering in your chest may indicate signs of cardiovascular disease, so convey your concerns to your doctor.
- Profuse Sweating: If you experience sweating when not exercising or engaging in physical activity, you could be suffering from a heart attack. As with other signs, the situation is more serious when sweating is accompanied by additional symptoms.
- Swelling in the Lower Extremities: When your heart cannot pump blood effectively, fluid will back up in the lower extremities and causing bloating. Cardiovascular disease also affects the kidneys, causing bloating when the body cannot eliminate extra water.
Though linked to advanced age, there are multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, it is possible to reduce your propensity by making changes to improve your health.
What You Can Control: High blood pressure and, high cholesterol are two top risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It helps to switch to a healthier diet that focuses on lean protein and vegetables, and limit your intake of sweets and refined carbohydrates. In addition, make sure to get plenty of exercise. Around 30 minutes 3-5 days per week can greatly improve your overall well-being. Note that a healthier lifestyle can also alleviate two other risk factors for cardiovascular disease: Diabetes and obesity.
Another major health risk for cardiovascular disease is smoking. People who smoke are twice as likely to experience a heart attack or other forms of cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, take action to quit as soon as possible. If you live with a smoker, you are also at risk.
Factors You Cannot Change: There are some circumstances that are out of your control, but you can work with your doctor to reduce certain risks. Some medications have been shown to lower cholesterol in patients who cannot maintain healthy levels even with a proper diet. Family history of cardiovascular disease is also a risk factor, but monitoring your health and other risk factors can be successful in avoiding serious health issues.
Gain an Advantage Over Cardiovascular Disease with Home Health Services
Cardiovascular disease can be debilitating for some individuals, and it is not always possible to avoid the effects through lifestyle changes. You can ease some of the burden if you qualify for free home healthcare services through United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care. Please contact one of our team members to discuss eligibility and how we can assist with your situation.