Heart disease is a term you may hear often. Doctors may suggest that your older family member takes certain steps to prevent heart disease. You may have read about a heart-healthy diet that can prevent heart disease, too. But, what exactly is heart disease? If you don’t know, you’re not alone.
Heart Disease Defined
One of the reasons you may be unsure of what it means to have heart disease is that the term “heart disease” doesn’t describe a single condition. Instead, it is used to describe a range of health problems that affect the heart. Some of the diseases that are considered heart disease are:
- Coronary artery disease.
- Congenital heart defects.
Sometimes you will hear people use the terms “heart disease” and “cardiovascular disease” interchangeably. However, they aren’t the same thing. Cardiovascular disease refers to conditions that include narrowed blood vessels that can cause a heart attack. Heart disease involves the heart muscle, the valves, and the heart’s rhythm.
How Common is Heart Disease?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is responsible for 1 out of every 4 deaths in the United States. That’s about 610,000 deaths each year. Heart disease kills more men and women each year than any other disease. However, it is slightly more common in men. About 735,000 people have a heart attack each year.
Although heart disease affects people of all races, some races are at higher risk than others. The CDC lists the percentage of deaths due to heart disease among certain races as follows:
- Non-Hispanic Blacks: 23.8%.
- Non-Hispanic Whites: 23.8%.
- Asians or Pacific Islanders: 22.2%.
- American Indians or Alaska Natives: 18.4%.
What Puts Seniors at Higher Risk for Heart Disease?
There are many things that can increase your older family member’s chances of developing heart disease. Some of them cannot be controlled, like age and family health history. However, many risk factors can be managed, such as:
-Smoking: Heart attacks happen more in people who smoke than in people who do not.
-Diet: An unhealthy diet that is high in fat, sodium, cholesterol, and sugar increases the chances your aging relative will get heart disease.
-Poorly Controlled Conditions: Not keeping certain conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes under control increases the risk of developing a heart problem.
-Lack of Exercise: Living a sedentary life is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and also contributes to other conditions that make heart disease more likely.
Home care can help your older family members to take better care of themselves to prevent heart disease or to manage an existing heart condition. A home care provider can cook heart-healthy meals that contain lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and avoid unhealthy ingredients, like salt and saturated fat. Home care providers can also help to control conditions by reminding the older adult to take their medications and drive them to medical appointments.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Care in Mesa, AZ, please contact the caring staff at Legacy Home Care LLC at: (480) 777-0070