Arrhythmia is a condition that occurs when the heart doesn’t beat in an organized and controlled pattern. It occurs when the electrical system that controls how the heart beats doesn’t work right and sends irregular signals. In some cases, the arrhythmia is just a nuisance, but it can also be dangerous, even leading to death. Knowing the risk factors associated with arrhythmia can help you to determine whether your older family member is at risk.
Risk Factors for Arrhythmia
There are several things that can increase the chances of seniors developing arrhythmia. Some of them are:
Getting Older: Just by getting older, your aging relative is at greater risk for heart arrhythmia. Though experts aren’t sure exactly why age makes the problem more likely, it may have something to do with scarring that can occur in the heart with age.
Heart Problems: Heart conditions that cause damage to the heart muscle and other parts of the heart can lead to arrhythmia. Some conditions that can play a role are a heart attack, narrowed arteries, heart valve problems, and having had heart surgery.
Diabetes: People with diabetes have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure and coronary artery disease, both of which can lead to arrhythmia.
Thyroid Issues: Having low or high levels of thyroid hormones can increase the risk.
Caffeine or Nicotine: Both caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can cause the heart to beat too fast or cause other kinds of arrhythmias.
Alcohol: Excessive consumption of alcohol can affect the electrical signals that control the heart.
Sometimes arrhythmia doesn’t cause any symptoms that the older adult notices themselves. Instead, it’s discovered when a doctor is examining the senior for something else. Other times, they might have some of these symptoms:
- A fluttery feeling.
- A feeling like the heart is racing.
- Slowed heartbeat.
- Pain in the chest.
If your aging relative notices symptoms of arrhythmia, it’s important that they talk to a doctor. If the symptoms are severe or happen when they are not expected, call 911 for emergency medical care.
Home care can assist seniors to prevent arrhythmia by preparing heart-healthy meals for them. Home care providers can also increase physical activity by encouraging the older adult to participate in activities around the home. Having a home care provider can reduce stress, which can trigger arrhythmia, in your aging relative by giving them someone to help them with household tasks, make sure they don’t forget to take medications and offer emotional support.
The staff at Home Care Matters is available to talk with you and your family about all of your needs. Home Care Matters is a home care agency providing quality and affordable Senior Care in Dacula, GA, and surrounding areas. Call (678) 828-2195 for more information.