Atherosclerosis is a condition of the arteries that can lead to heart attack and kidney failure. Getting older is one of the risk factors for developing atherosclerosis, so knowing more about the condition may help caregivers to manage it in their older family members.
You may have heard the terms “atherosclerosis” and “arteriosclerosis” used interchangeably. However, they are two different things. Arteriosclerosis refers to arteries becoming thick and stiff, which makes it difficult for blood to move through them. Atherosclerosis is a kind of arteriosclerosis that happens when plaque collects on the walls of arteries, making them narrow. The condition is often talked about in conjunction with heart disease. However, it can occur anywhere in the body.
Atherosclerosis happens over time. At first, there aren’t any symptoms, but as more plaque builds up and the arteries become narrower, organs and tissues don’t get enough oxygen. In some cases, a blood clot breaks off and causes a blood vessel to become completely blocked, causing a heart attack or stroke.
Symptoms of the condition depend on which arteries are affected. When heart arteries are affected, chest pain may occur. When arteries that feed the brain are affected, it can cause a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or “mini-stroke.” The symptoms of a TIA are the same as those of a regular stroke, but they are temporary. However, if the older adult isn’t treated, they could have a more serious stroke. Atherosclerosis in arteries that feed the kidneys can cause kidney failure.
Making lifestyle changes can help keep your aging relative from developing the condition and can also treat existing atherosclerosis. Lifestyle changes recommended by experts include:
Healthy Eating: Follow a heart healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Physical Activity: Remain as physically active as possible. All forms of movement count toward the goal, including gardening, going for a walk, or doing household tasks.
Quit Smoking: Smoking damages and constricts blood vessels.
Lose Weight: People who are overweight or obese should try to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Senior care can assist older adults to make lifestyle changes for preventing atherosclerosis. A senior care provider can drive them to the grocery store to purchase healthy ingredients for meals. Senior care providers can also cook heart healthy meals for older adults who have difficulty cooking for themselves. Senior care providers can increase the amount of time your aging relative spends moving by helping them to walk more, involving them in projects around the house, or driving them to an exercise facility to use equipment or take a class.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional Senior Care Services in Westfield NJ, please talk to the caring staff at Generations Home Health Care today. Providing Home Care in Somerset, Essex, Union, Morris and Hunterdon Counties. Call us today at (908) 290-0691 or (973) 241-4534.