Imagine this: you are sitting at home, watching television with your aging father. You are both laughing at a joke that Robin Williams told in an old movie, and everything seems fine. Then you look over and notice that your father is struggling to breathe. He looks sweaty and clammy, and he is rubbing his chest with his hand. Your mind immediately jumps to “heart attack” and you dial 911 as fast as you can.
Did you know, though, that a heart attack isn’t the only type of heart disease you have to look out for?
Some types of heart disease happen slowly, over time. So instead of manifesting themselves all at once, like a heart attack, they show up a little here, a little there, maybe not even enough for you and your elder care aide to notice at first. But these conditions can be just as dangerous as a heart attack, and knowing the symptoms can go a long way toward identifying that there is a problem, and getting the proper medical help.
Here are some of the different types of heart disease, along with their symptoms:
A heart attack (or myocardial infarction) might not be the only way that heart disease manifests itself, but it is a very common one, and you should know the symptoms so that you can act quickly. Symptoms of a heart attack usually last around thirty minutes. They start out as a discomfort at best, but gradually get worse and worse until it becomes very painful. You should call 911 if your loved one experiences any of the symptoms below:
- Feeling similar to indigestion, heartburn, or fullness in stomach and chest
- Rapid heartbeat
- Heaviness and pain in the chest that can sometimes radiate into the jaw or left arm (but not always)
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary Artery Disease is sometimes very tricky, because it feels a lot like indigestion or heartburn. It is usually identified by a strange feeling in the chest that can be described as a squeezing feeling, or one of pressure or pain. As you can see, though, some of its symptoms are very similar to a heart attack:
- Trouble catching one’s breath
- Rapid heartbeat
Arrhythmias are irregular or odd heartbeats, and result when the heart does not beat in the rhythm that it should. For some people, this is a chronic problem, but it should always be closely monitored by a doctor. If your loved one notices any of the following symptoms, they may have an arrhythmia.
- A “flip-flopping” feeling in the chest, like your heart is skipping a beat
- Pounding in chest
- Light-headedness and fainting
- Trouble breathing
- Extreme fatigue
- Chest pain or discomfort
These are just three of many different types of heart disease that could affect your loved one. It is important that you and your elder care aide know the symptoms of all of them, so that you know if it is time to call for help. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, so if you notice any of the symptoms above, don’t hesitate to get help.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Keyport, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Lares Home Care 888-492-3538 or 732-566-1112.