At this time of year, when the stores are stocked with heart-shaped everything in celebration of Valentine’s Day, it gives us the perfect reminder for each of us to take care of our hearts, and in particular, to be able to detect the signs of a heart attack and to know just 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 great idea to give yourself a quick refresher.
Heart Attack Symptoms
Seek out immediate medical care if your senior loved one complains of the following:
- Chest pain or discomfort. This can come on suddenly and intensely, or consist of a much slower, more gradual progression. Many heart attack patients express the feeling as a tightening or squeezing feeling that persists for several minutes or more, or which goes away and then returns.
- Nausea/vomiting. Feelings of nausea can also be combined with faintness, 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 sometimes in the neck and jaw.
It’s also important to note that women and men sometimes experience diverse heart attack symptoms. Men are more inclined to suffer from only chest pain and discomfort, while women often suffer from the other common symptoms documented above.
Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center states, “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.”
What to Do if a Heart Attack Is Suspected
Time is critical in getting correct treatment during and after a heart attack. It’s always recommended to call 911 to enable faster transport to the hospital and for emergency medical staff to provide treatment along the way.
Enhanced Home Care can help in many ways with keeping seniors healthy and well. By partnering with our trained Kansas City home care professionals, a caregiver is available to keep an eye out for symptoms of a heart attack or other health concern and to seek help immediately. Our in-home care services also include preparing nourishing meals, assisting with personal care and ambulation to help avoid falls, cheerful companionship, and many other services to improve health and wellbeing. Contact us at 913-327-0000 to take the first step in helping your senior loved one live a better quality of life, or visit our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about our Kansas City senior care services.