While the stores are jam-packed with heart-shaped everything in honor of Valentine’s Day, it’s the perfect reminder for all of us to take care of our hearts, and in particular, to be able to recognize the signs of a heart attack and to know exactly what to do if we suspect a senior loved one is experiencing one. Even if you’ve previously educated yourself on these red flags, it’s always a good idea to give yourself a quick refresher.
Heart Attack Warning Signs
Seek immediate medical care if your senior loved one complains of the following:
Chest discomfort or pain. This can come on suddenly and intensely, or consist of a slower, more gradual progression. Many heart attack patients describe the feeling as a tightening or squeezing feeling that lasts several minutes or more, or which goes away and then returns.
Nausea/vomiting. Feelings of nausea can also be accompanied by lightheadedness, dizziness, and/or breaking out in a cold sweat.
Upper body pain. Pain can radiate down the back, in one or both arms, in the stomach, and even in the neck and jaw.
It’s important to note as well that men and women may experience different heart attack symptoms. Men are more likely to experience only chest pain and discomfort, whereas women tend to suffer from the other common symptoms noted above.
Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center explains, “Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure. Instead, they may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.”
Time is of the essence in getting proper treatment during and after a heart attack. It’s always best to call 911 to allow for faster transport to the hospital and for emergency medical staff to provide treatment along the way.
Home Care & Heart Health
Absolute Companion Care can help in a variety of ways with keeping seniors healthy and well. By partnering with our highly-trained Maryland home care team, a caregiver is available to watch for heart attack warning signs or other health concern and to seek help immediately. Our top-rated elder care in Baltimore and the surrounding areas also includes preparation of healthy meals, assistance with personal care and ambulation to help avoid falls, friendly companionship, and many other tasks to improve health and wellbeing. Contact us at 410-357-9640 to take the first step in helping your senior loved one live a better quality of life.