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Heart Attack in Seniors: Causes and Risk Factors

Submitted by Home Care Assistance of Lincoln, CA | RSS Feed | Add Comment | Bookmark Me! print

While people of any age can become victims, golden agers are particularly at risk.

The cause of the overwhelming majority of heart attacks is a blood clot obstructing a coronary artery. If measures are not taken to open the blood vessel, affected muscle cells begin to succumb to the lack of oxygen.
However, Home Care Lincoln,CA shares other causes and risk factors, especially for seniors. These triggers are especially notorious.

1. Age

Men over 45 and women over 55, or once they are post-menopausal, are more likely to have a heart attack. More than 4/5 of patients who do not survive are past 65. The risk is greater for men; however, men and women over 70 have the same chances of suffering a heart attack.

2. Being a Woman

For reasons that are unclear, women are more likely to succumb. Possible factors include a longer delay in requesting or getting help (often because signs of trouble are not the same and less distinctive than in men) and smaller hearts and arteries have a greater possibility of damage.

Estrogen—or hormone—replacement therapy (HRT) is a common treatment to help women manage menopause symptoms. There was a time that HRT was believed to also be heart-protective. Yet more recent research indicates that such therapy actually raises the risk of heart disease.

Women who have had preeclampsia during pregnancy are more likely to become victims.

3. Illness, Injury, and Infection

Being unwell is difficult for anyone. However, aging hearts and blood vessels are less able to cope with illness. In addition, surgery to fix an injury or medical condition may prove traumatic as well as infections, whether from wounds or surgical procedures, can tax a cardiovascular system. All this underscores the necessity of staying up-to-date on flu, shingles, pneumonia, and other vaccinations.

4. Diabetes

High blood sugar can, as time passes, harm blood vessels and the nerves that control them and the heart. Since people who have had diabetes for a number of years are more likely to have cardiovascular issues, older folks are at greater risk.

Carrying too many pounds (risky for anyone) makes it harder to control diabetes and increases the chance of developing heart trouble. (If a person has too much belly fat, even if he or she is not overall fat, the risks skyrocket.)

5. Stress

Stress can cause blood pressure (a risk factor for heart problems) to spike. A higher resting pulse, an irregular heartbeat, and a harder-working heart all reduce the ticker’s capacity to manage stressful situations. An elderly person’s cardiovascular system may not be up to the challenge.

An ounce of prevention may be the best cure. Being aware of these risks can mean to a healthy heart throughout those golden years.

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