Every year, heart disease and stroke cause more deaths and hospitalizations throughout Canada than any other disease, and account for a large number of emergency room visits. In fact, ninety percent of the country’s adults have at least one risk factor that makes them susceptible to stroke and heart disease.
As a leading provider of stroke care in Vancouver, we wanted to share some information about stroke and heart disease in honor of Heart Month 2015 to help promote heart-healthy lifestyles for seniors and older adults.
- Uncontrolled hypertension is a major cause. High blood pressure that is poorly managed is a major contributing factor in both heart disease and stroke. Blood pressures that exceed the body’s normal limits can result in heart attack. In addition, such pressures can weaken blood vessels that become prone to tearing and can result in hemorrhagic stroke.
- Smoking poses a great risk. Not only is smoking devastating to the lungs, but it pours harmful free radicals into the body every time a puff of smoke is inhaled. Free radicals are responsible for causing cell damage in all areas of the body, but especially in the cardiovascular system. Smoking also increases the heart rate, hastens clot development and elevates blood pressure.
- Obesity is a large factor for seniors. Older adults who are overweight have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke primarily because excessive body tissue makes the heart work harder and causes it to eventually enlarge. The enlarged heart is less efficient and is prone to irregular rhythms and leaking valves.
- Elevated cholesterol takes its toll. Excessive circulatory cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels and causes them to become narrow. The arteries often become so constricted that effective blood flow is hampered and a heart attack or stroke ensues.
- Prevention is possible. Even though many people have inherent factors that make them susceptible to heart disease and stroke such as heredity and race, many contributing components can be controlled. Avoiding tobacco and controlling blood pressure help reduce the chance of succumbing to the diseases, and engaging in moderate exercise and healthy eating habits may also significantly reduce risks.
To learn more about promoting senior heart health or for information about caring for a senior loved one, visit our website at www.homecareassistancevancouver.ca or call a friendly Care Manager directly at 778-279-3634.