Heart failure deaths are surging among senior citizens and the question is why?
This information comes from American Medical Association news published this month that deaths from heart disease among seniors have increased dramatically.
The study results show an increase of 8.5 percent from 2011 to 2017 after years of steadily decreasing. But, the grim picture concerns the whopping increases in heart failure during this same time period. Deaths from heart failure increased by 38 percent in the age group 65 and older.
Heart Failure: Why It’s Increasing In Seniors
Part of the explanation for these increases, say the experts, is rising rates of obesity and diabetes. In addition, up to now, cardiologists have focused on treating other types of heart disease. Moreover, some of the statistical increase can be attributed to the rising senior citizens population. There are more seniors and they’re living longer.
Heart Failure: What Is It?
Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump an adequate supply of blood to the rest of the body. Without the necessary supply of nutrients and oxygen that blood brings, cells throughout the body suffer. Here are several symptoms that can tip you off that the heart has issues:
- Fatigue during everyday activities such as walking or shopping
- Buildup of fluid in the body, including swelling in the feet, ankles, legs or abdomen
- weight gain
- Dizzy spells
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Lack of appetite
- Confusion and impaired thinking; feeling disoriented or experiencing memory loss
- Increased heart rate, heart palpitations, heart is racing or throbbing
Today, more than 6 million Americans are living with heart failure that is brought under control with medication. For example, Lasix, is a diuretic that rids the body of excess fluid.
Another drug, Enestro, uses the body’s hormone system to regulate blood pressure. In addition, new surgical techniques can open blocked heart arteries, that in previous years were inaccessible.
By 2030, it’s estimated that nearly 8 million Americans will be diagnosed with heart failure. Of those, 2 million will be 80 or older. And, according to the American Heart Association, in adults aged 40-6, twenty percent will develop heart failure in their lifetime. Scary statistics.
Time To Take Action
Don’t become a statistic. In addition to medication, lifestyle changes can increase your quality of life if you have heart failure. The American Heart Association recommends these lifestyle changes. Take them seriously.
- Quit smoking. Nicotine temporarily increases heart rate and blood pressure, decreases the amount of oxygen circulating in the body and leads to stickiness of the blood vessels that feed the heart.
- Weigh yourself every day at the same time. Sudden weight loss or gain may indicate that your heart failure is progressing.
- Lose excess weight. Carrying extra pounds forces your heart to work harder.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless fish and poultry, legumes and nuts. Limit salt; it contributes to unwanted water retention. Avoid trans and saturated fats — they make your heart work harder.
- Monitor your blood pressure at home and report any changes to your doctor. Hypertension, plus obesity and diabetes, drove a 51 percent increase in the number of deaths in adults under age 65 between 2011 and 2017.
- Improve your sleep at night to keep your heart at its healthiest.
- Flu and pneumonia are dangerous for people with heart issues. Find out if you can handle vaccines.
For some people, regular check ups can save you from this disease. For example, diabetes drugs called SGLT-2 (sodium-glucose co-transporter 2) inhibitors, do lower the risk of heart failure.
Don’t delay, take action right now.