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Coronary Heart Disease? | Understand The Risks and Preventive Measures Needed to Stay Safe!

Updated: May 9

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), also known as coronary artery disease, is a widespread heart condition affecting millions globally. It stems from the gradual buildup of fatty deposits within artery walls over many years. CHD is particularly prevalent among the elderly population, with individuals aged 65 and older at a significantly higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, CHD, and heart failure. In this article, we will delve into CHD in the elderly, exploring its causes, symptoms, treatment options, and prevention measures.



Coronary Heart Disease


Causes of Coronary Heart Disease in Elderly People.


The primary cause of CHD is the damage to coronary arteries due to the accumulation of cholesterol on blood vessel walls, forming fatty plaques. This condition, known as atherosclerosis, narrows the coronary arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart. Rare causes of CHD include embolisms or blood clots in blood vessels. Various risk factors contribute to the buildup of cholesterol and other substances that play a role in CHD development, including:


Smoking

Smoking significantly raises the risk of CHD in the elderly, with smokers being 24% more likely to develop the condition. Nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes strain the heart, forcing it to work harder. Smoking also increases the risk of blood clot formation and damages coronary artery linings, leading to narrowed blood vessels.


Hypertension

High blood pressure is another common risk factor among the elderly. It increases the heart's workload, potentially resulting in CHD. Monitoring blood pressure and dietary adjustments are crucial for managing hypertension.


Diabetes

People with diabetes face an increased risk of atherosclerosis, necessitating regular blood sugar level monitoring.


Family History

A family history of CHD or other heart conditions elevates the risk for elderly individuals.


Obesity

Obesity increases the risk of CHD by placing additional strain on the heart.


Sedentary Lifestyle

A lack of physical activity can further raise the risk of CHD among the elderly.


Symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease in Elderly People


CHD symptoms in elderly individuals can vary based on the underlying cause. However, some common symptoms include:


Chest Pain (Angina)

Angina often presents as chest pressure or tightness, akin to someone standing on the chest. This discomfort typically occurs in the middle or left side of the chest and can be triggered by activity or strong emotions.


Shortness of Breath

Feeling breathless and unable to catch one's breath is a potential CHD symptom.


Fatigue

Insufficient blood pumping by the heart can result in unusual fatigue.


Heart Attack

A fully blocked coronary artery can lead to a heart attack.

Symptoms might go unnoticed until a significant blockage occurs, causing problems or a heart attack. If you suspect a heart attack, call your local emergency number immediately.


Treatment Options for Coronary Heart Disease in Elderly People


CHD treatment varies based on factors like age, overall health, and medical history but typically involves lifestyle changes, medications, and, sometimes, medical procedures:


Medications

Medications such as antihistamines and anticholinergics can provide immediate relief from vertigo, dizziness, and nausea. However, these drugs may induce drowsiness.


Physical Therapy

Physical therapy exercises like canalith repositioning (Epley maneuver) can effectively resolve benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. This procedure repositions the head to alleviate symptoms and is typically performed by a doctor, audiologist, or physical therapist.


Lifestyle Changes

Simple adjustments like avoiding sudden movements and staying hydrated can help reduce the frequency and severity of vertigo episodes.


In summary, managing CHD in the elderly requires comprehensive understanding and proactive measures. As the elderly population grows, addressing this condition's impact becomes increasingly important. By incorporating lifestyle modifications, regular monitoring, and appropriate medical interventions, it's possible to improve the quality of life for elderly individuals while mitigating the risks associated with CHD.




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