Heart disease includes numerous conditions under the heart disease umbrella. Heart disease is often called cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular diseases are conditions that involve blocked blood vessels or narrowed blood vessels that can eventually lead to a heart attack, stroke or chest pain. There are several other heart conditions listed here on The Heart & Stroke Foundation.
Heart disease affects older adults more as you age. It is vital to have regular check-ups with your doctor to monitor your heart disease. There are several types of Heart Disease. Knowing your symptoms and monitoring the care is key to a healthy heart. If you would like to learn more about heart disease, you may find info at the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
Many people, men & women, have heart disease long before they’re even aware. When you realize you have a condition, it’s usually in the form of a heart attack. Both men and women can be affected by heart conditions. According to the Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada, women’s symptoms are different than men. For women, heart attack symptoms may be experienced as shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, cold sweats, loss of appetite, overwhelming weakness sense of fatigue, pain in the jaw or neck, and a general sense of malaise. For men, a heart attack is experienced as heavy pressure on the chest as if an elephant is sitting there, making breathing difficult. Additionally, men may experience sweating, nausea and chest or upper arm shoulder pain.
Eating a healthy diet is a necessity to prevent heart disease—a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and poultry. Limit the intake amount of red meats, refined sugar, processed foods and foods with trans fats. Avoiding excessive alcohol and smoking is a factor in preventing heart disease as well. Exercise at least 30 minutes daily; however, start slowly. Choose a light workout such as walking, swimming or biking. Always stretch and warm up your muscles and heart before exercising. Creating these healthy habits early on is vital because the damage caused can be permanent; however, once the condition is permanent, taking care of your health will always be beneficial to your heart.
Monitoring your blood sugar is also beneficial to prevent the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, if you have diabetes, you may be more at risk for developing heart disease.
If you do have an existing condition and you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention:
- Sudden weight gain of 5 or more pounds in one week
- Swelling in the feet or ankles
- Swelling or pain in the abdomen
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Trouble breathing when lying down
- Coughing or wheezing
- Increased fatigue
- Mental confusion
- Loss of appetite
Stress plays a factor in heart disease. For older adults, it is essential to lower stress levels. Learn how to manage stress from Harvard University. High levels of stress can trigger blood cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure, all of which are risk factors for heart disease. Meditation is definitely a great way to relieve stress and has many potential benefits for older adults, including less stress and improves sleeping patterns. According to a study from Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University, aired on CTV, meditation may be an effective way to combat late-life depression.
Who has heart disease in Canada? How many Canadians live with heart disease? The Government of Canada provides data to Canadians wanting to know more about Heart Disease. A guide for people with Heart Disease is available on the Heart & Stroke Foundation.