Nearly 90 percent of people with congestive heart failure are 65 or older, according to a report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information. The same report states part of the reason for this is because of the way aging often affects the cardiovascular system. If you care for an older loved one, take a moment to learn more about some of the specific factors that can affect an aging cardiovascular system.
Weight GainHormonal changes and slower metabolisms can make it difficult for seniors to lose weight or stay within a healthy weight range, which can be a problem, since excess weight makes the heart work harder. Obesity is also associated with heart disease and heart failure. Issues with mobility may also cause seniors to become less active later in life, which further contributes to the possibility of gaining weight. Minimize this risk for your loved one by encouraging:
- Exercising for 30 minutes 3–4 days a week
- Eating smaller balanced meals and healthy snacks
- Doing water-based activities or chair-based exercises
Chronic Health IssuesThe Canadian Nurses Association estimates about a third of Canadians have at least one chronic condition, and many of these people are 65 or older. Chronic conditions common among seniors, such as heart disease and diabetes, can have a big impact on cardiovascular health. Related cardio system risks may be reduced if seniors make appropriate lifestyle changes and follow doctors’ instructions to keep chronic conditions in check. A professional caregiver can provide additional support for your efforts to help your loved one adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle. If your senior loved one needs hourly or 24-hour care, Winnipeg Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.
Poor Blood FlowSeniors with thyroid disorders or vascular dementia are at increased risk for developing hardened arteries (atherosclerosis). The resulting poor blood flow boosts the risk of heart attacks and strokes for aging adults. Preventative measures typically involve medication and lifestyle adjustments.
StressApproximately three-quarters of older adults questioned for a General Social Survey on Canadians at Work reported experiencing some degree of stress. If your loved one is excessively stressed or worried, it can affect his or her cardiovascular system by increasing blood pressure or contributing to an irregular heartbeat. Reduce this risk for your loved one by recommending stress relief efforts that could include:
- Trying body manipulation (e.g., yoga, tai chi, massage therapy)
- Eating more nutritionally dense foods
- Exploring meditation, deep breathing, and other forms of relaxation therapy