Common Symptoms of Heart Disease

Elder Care in Lake Bluff

Elder Care in Lake Bluff

Heart disease is the buildup of fatty deposits, or plaques, in the walls of the coronary arteries over many years. Because it takes many years, it’s often more of a concern for the elderly, and the risk of developing it increases each year as the plaque builds up on the artery walls. As the plaque builds inside the arteries, there is less space for blood to flow normally and bring needed oxygen to the heart. If the blood flow to the heart is reduced or blocked by plaque buildup, if a plaque suddenly breaks, angina (chest pain or discomfort) or a heart attack can occur.

If your family has a history of heart disease, your parent should receive regular exams, so that his doctor can examine him and check on his heart. Until it is well developed, heart disease may not present any symptoms.

Seek immediate help if your parent complains of any chest pain to you or his elder care provider. Let’s look at some of these not-quite urgent symptoms, but symptoms that should be noted and then reviewed during your parent’s normal doctor’s visit. Chest pain is not a common symptom of heart disease in its development. Some symptoms may be consistent, while others may come and go. If your parent notes a particular symptom with someone else other than you (such as another family member or his elder care provider), ask them to tell you (or whoever brings him for his regular doctor visits) so you have all the pertinent information for his doctor.

Symptoms you’ll want to alert the doctor about:

  • Shortness of breath when active, at rest, or while lying flat. If these symptoms have become commonplace, your parent may not even notice. It may be more likely that you or his elder care provider will notice his shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain during physical activity that gets better when he rests.
  • Consistent or sporadic pain, numbness, or tingling in his arms, shoulders, neck, jaw, or back.
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness that happens when he stands up quickly or turns too fast in one direction.
  • Confusion and headaches can have many causes, but you might not think of them as symptoms of heart disease.
  • Cold sweats.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Tiredness or fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest.
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, stomach, and/or neck. Heart disease often causes edema, and you might notice it if he seems swollen in these areas that are prone to retaining water.
  • Arrhythmia, which is a fluttering in his chest when he’s active. It may feel like his heart is pounding or beating too hard.
  • Reduced ability to exercise or be physically active that he used to do without any physical limitations.
  • Problems doing normal activities, such as walking across a yard, or going up the stairs.

Talk to your parent’s doctor about these symptoms. He may recommend a cardiologist to help him find ways to get his heart disease under control.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Elder Care in Lake Bluff, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.

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