Broken Hearts: Understanding and Treating Heart Failure

May 1 – 7 is National Heart Failure Awareness Week 

Heart Failure is a growing concern for all age groups. Early signs of heart failure are similar in our aging community as in other age groups. Better treatments are available for other health conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, and people live longer than a decade ago. Unfortunately for some, this can lead to heart failure.

Understanding the statistics and what to look for to prevent heart failure, especially for our senior loved ones, is essential. There is no cure; however, heart failure is manageable with specific lifestyle changes and medications to reduce the condition’s progress. It is unpredictable and challenging to know how heart failure will progress, and many people, including our aging loved ones, can live several years without things worsening.

Resource: Heart Failure in the elderly

National Heart Failure Awareness Week is so important to help everyone in Canada and worldwide understand what to look for and possible prevention of this condition. 

This year the message is: It’s Not Normal to be Breathless.

First, let’s take a look at some numbers:

  • 1 in 3 Canadians has been touched by heart failure.
  • 750,000 people are living with heart failure.
  • 100,000 people are diagnosed with heart failure every year.

Who is likely to suffer from heart failure?

Heart failure can affect people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities, but certain factors may increase a person’s risk. Some common risk factors for heart failure include:

  • Coronary artery disease can increase the risk of heart failure when the arteries that supply blood to the heart narrow or become blocked.

What is Heart Failure

Heart Failure is a chronic condition when the heart Is not functioning as it should. It may be too weak or stiff or both or have a problem with its structure.

Some of the symptoms are:

  • Breathlessness or shortness of breath
  • Swelling in feet or abdomen 
  • Fluid Buildup
  • Fatigue

The following video explains Heart Failure.

Helping our Senior Loved Ones protect from Heart Failure

A healthy diet, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins, helps maintain heart health. Seniors should avoid processed foods and foods high in saturated and trans fats.

Our senior loved ones must find ways to manage stress so it doesn’t become chronic, increasing the risk of heart failure. Activities like meditation, yoga, and tai chi can be helpful.

Regular physical activity can help improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart failure. Thirty minutes are broken into 15-minute intervals of moderate exercise for seniors, a few days a week, as long as their health allows.

Seniors should see their doctor regularly for check-ups and screenings to help catch any potential heart problems early.

Seniors should take their prescribed medications as directed and report any side effects to their healthcare provider.

The healthcare team at Promyse is committed to keeping seniors living safely and independently at home. If your loved one has suffered or shows signs of heart failure and requires extra care, we are here for you and your family. 

Contact us for more information about our home care and housekeeping services. We will be delighted to meet with you to discuss your loved one’s unique needs.


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