Elderly Heart HealthIt’s February, the month when reporters spend a significant amount of time and energy observing a groundhog, the month when roses and romance get special recognition and, most importantly, it’s American Heart Month! To commemorate this month-long awareness of the blood-pumping organ, we’re dedicating this week’s blog posts to heart health.

Warning: The following statistic might get your heart pounding a bit…

Heart disease is the leading killer in the United States, taking the lives of more than 600,000 Americans each year! So it’s quite an understatement to say that this is a serious issue. Arm yourself and your loved one with education on healthy heart habits and heart disease prevention. Don’t worry, Griswold is here to help. “Home is where the heart is,” after all, and as a home care provider, we’re very passionate about healthy, happy hearts.

To jumpstart this series on heart health, here’s a list of 6 types of heart disease (with 1 sub-type as an added heart-pumping bonus):

  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) – This is the most common form of heart disease, affecting over 13 million people and topping the list as the number one killer in the United States. CAD occurs when a buildup of cholesterol and plaque causes arteries to harden and narrow, reducing blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle. This is what usually causes heart attacks.
  • Irregular Heart Rhythm – Also known as “arrhythmia,” this encompasses all disorders that cause the heart to beat in an irregular pattern. When the heart beats faster than normal, it is called “tachycardia.” When the heart beats too slowly, it is called “bradycardia.” Many factors can affect your heart’s rhythm, such as a heart attack, blood chemistry imbalances, abnormal hormone levels or even some medications.
  • Heart Valve Disease – This is also common and affects the function and performance of the heart valves. Valve problems may be present at birth or caused by infections, damage to the heart, heart attacks or another type of heart disease.
  • Congenital Heart Disease – This is the most common type of birth defect and occurs during fetal development. It refers to any problems with the structure of the heart — from aberrations in the walls or valves of the heart to abnormalities in the arteries or veins near the heart.
  • Pericardial Effusion – This is a buildup of fluid in the pericardium, which is a membrane, or sac, that surrounds the heart, holds it in place and helps it work properly. It can be caused by an infection, cancer, heart surgery or kidney disease.
  • Cardiomyopathy –This refers to any disease of the heart muscle that causes it to become enlarged or thicker and more rigid.
    • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy – This is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes, but it’s also a significant cause of sudden and unexpected cardiac death in any age group.

Now that we’ve got the introduction to heart disease out of the way, it’s time for the fun part: how to show your heart some love! You don’t want to miss this advice on how to promote heart health and prevent heart disease for you and your loved one, so subscribe to our blog or check back soon!

Please comment below if you or your loved one have had any experience with dealing with heart health before.