The Stages of Heart Disease in Elderly Men and Women
Heart disease is most commonly found in elderly patients. Over 80% of all heart failure patients are 65 years and older. The diagnosis and treatment of heart disease is challenger in elderly patients, but with proper skill and care, most heart disease can be managed. According to the American Heart Association, coronary heart disease affects 21% of men in the 60-79 range and 10% of women in the age 60-79 range. Additionally, men are more likely to have a heart attack at an earlier age than women
Warning Signs of Heart Disease
Heart disease can have early warning signs that should not be ignored. Here are some warning signs you should be aware of:
- Shortness of breath is very common in early stages of heart
- Persistent coughing and wheezing can be an indication of fluid buildup in the
- Swelling can be caused by excess buildup of fluid in other parts of the body.
- If the heart can’t pump enough blood to the rest of the body, one of the first warning signs is a general feeling of fatigue.
- If the digestive system isn’t receiving enough blood, there may be a loss of appetite.
Four Stages of Heart Disease
The American Heart Association has identified four basic stages of heart disease.
- In Stage A, patients may not have any symptoms or heart disorders but are still at very high risk for them.
- In Stage B, there may be a heart disorder, but without any overt symptoms. This is why it is important to get health screenings especially as you get older.
- In Stage C, patients may be facing symptoms of heart disease along with their disorder, but are able to keep it managed with care and medical treatment.
- Stage D is considered end stage heart disease. There has been significant heart damage that requires hospital-based treatment and support. End stage heart disease in the elderly can lead to the need for surgery, a heart transplant, or hospice care.
Helping Prevent Heart Disease in Elderly Adults
There are also a few preventative measures that can be taken to help reduce the risk of heart disease in elderly patients.
- One of the major causes of heart disease is smoking. Quitting smoking will improve your respiratory intake allowing more oxygen to flow through your bloodstream. This helps keep the heart healthy.
- Maintaining a healthy weight through exercise is a great way to prevent heart disease. Cardiovascular activity is necessary to keep your circulatory system strong and functioning.
- A special diet that focuses on low-fat and high-fiber can help with prevention. Fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains are a great way to eat healthy.
- Perhaps one of the most important ways to prevent heart disease in elderly men and women is to schedule regular health screenings with your doctor. They will be able to detect and early warning signs and help make sure everything is working properly.
As people grow older, it is important to continue taking care of the body. Basic things like drinking more water, eating healthy, and exercising can prevent a great deal of ailments that come with age. Just remember not to ignore any of the early warning signs. Preventative care is always better than treatment.
What steps have you taken towards preventative care? Share with us in the comments below.