Heart diseases include a range of issues and disorders affecting the heart and the blood vessels. They are the leading cause of death globally, and a recent study found that 1 in every 4 deaths in India now can be attributed to the same.
The term encompasses a wide variety of cardiovascular disorders. These include:
● Arrhythmias, which are abnormalities in the heart rhythm
● Atherosclerosis, hardening and subsequent narrowing of the arteries
● Cardiomyopathy, which is weakening or hardening of the heart muscles
● Coronary artery disease, where there is buildup of materials in the heart arteries, that can cause their narrowing and in turn lead to a heart attack
● Heart Infections by bacteria, viruses and other pathogens
● Heart Defects and other irregularities present since birth
The symptoms vary according to the condition affecting the heart. However, the common symptoms include chest pain, chest tightness, pressure or discomfort (known as angina), breathlessness, heart palpitations and pain, numbness or coldness in the arms, legs, neck, jaw, abdomen or back.
Heart disease treatment centers around three main categories:
● Lifestyles changes: A healthy lifestyle is the mainstay of heart disease treatment. It involves diet changes, regular exercises, quitting tobacco and reduction in alcohol consumption. A low sodium and low fat diet, rich in fruits and vegetables is recommended.
● Medication: Wide ranges of medicines are available for treatment and control. They may be used for lowering cholesterol, for preventing blood clots that may clog the arteries, for treating heart attack and heart failure and for treatment of high blood pressure. Medicines may also be prescribed to slow or stop complications.
● Surgical intervention: In some cases, an invasive or surgical procedure may be required to treat the condition. Common surgical procedures include angioplasty, which involves ballooning of narrowed arteries; bypass heart surgery, in which blood flow is reestablished to blocked parts of the heart; pacemakers to regulate heart beat and surgeries to repair or replace defective heart valves.
Although heart disease can affect people of any age group, they are most common in the elderly. It is the number one cause of hospital visits and stays in the elderly.
Aging people who fall in the high-risk group for heart diseases, have any previous history of heart problems or are currently undergoing heart disease treatment require special care and attention.
It is advisable to get the proper treatment to provide care for such elderly people. Emoha Elder Care’s Care Angels (Home nurses) and Care Partners (attendants) are specially trained and equipped with the medical knowledge to deal with the needs of such patients.