As a family caregiver, you may be aware of some of the risk factors for heart attack. Perhaps you know that having high blood pressure or diabetes increases risk. And, you likely know that smoking is a major risk factor. But, did you know that some risk factors might be worse for women than they are for men? According to a research study that took place in the United Kingdom, it’s true.
About the Study.
The study involved more than 471,000 participants. 56 percent of them were women. All of the participants were between the ages of 40 and 69 and did not have a history of cardiovascular disease. The initial findings of the study aren’t surprising. The researchers found that having high blood pressure, smoking, or having diabetes increases the risk of having a heart attack for both men and women.
Upon examining the data further, the researchers found that the risk for women was even greater. Specifically, they found that:
- While men who smoke have double the risk of heart disease versus men who do not smoke, women who smoke have triple the risk compared to women who don’t smoke.
- High blood pressure caused an 80 percent higher risk in women than in men.
- Women with diabetes had a two to three times greater chance of having a heart attack than men with diabetes.
Reducing Heart Attack Risks.
There are several ways to help older adults lower their risk of suffering a heart attack. Some preventative steps to take are:
· Quit Smoking: It’s not easy to quit smoking, but when your aging relative quits, they will reduce their chances of having a heart attack.
· Eat a Healthy Diet: What your family member eats has a great impact on the health of their body, including their heart. Help them to consume a diet that is comprised of lots of healthy vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and lean protein.
· Manage Cholesterol Levels: High cholesterol is one of the risk factors for heart attack, but a doctor can prescribe medications that can help control cholesterol levels. If the senior has been advised to take cholesterol medicine, make sure they are taking it.
· Manage High Blood Pressure: The same goes for high blood pressure, which is considered one of the major risk factors for heart disease.
· Encourage Physical Activity: Seniors should try to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day on most days of the week.
Elder care can assist with managing risk factors for heart attack and heart disease. Elder care providers can prepare heart-healthy meals and offer encouragement to seniors who are trying to quit smoking. An elder care provider can also remind your loved one when it is time to take medications to control underlying conditions that may lead to heart attack. Finally, an elder care provider can increase the physical activity of the older adult by inviting them to take part in household activities, going for walks with them, or driving them to exercise facilities for classes or to use the equipment.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering elder care in Long Beach, CA, talk to the caring staff at Cambrian Home Care today. (562) 498-1800 / (877) 390-4300