Heart Health for Seniors


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By Martie Cruz


February is American Heart Month and a great time to brush up on the things we all need to know to maintain a healthy heart. Heart-related problems can strike at any age, but those of us over 60 have a significantly higher risk for heart disease, heart attacks, cardiac arrest and stroke.

While these events can sometimes be catastrophic regardless, getting immediate medical attention can often lessen the potential damage and even save lives. According to the American Heart Association, here are some of the warning signs to look for if you suspect you or someone you're with is having a heart attack or stroke, or going into cardiac arrest.

Heart Attack:

  • Discomfort in the upper body, including one or both arms, neck, back, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat, nausea or light-heatedness

Stroke: (With stroke, the American Heart Association recommends you remember the acronym F.A.S.T., for the first letter of each of the below)

  • Face drooping
    Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm weakness
    Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech difficulty
    Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "the sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 9-1-1
    If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

    Cardiac Arrest:
  • Sudden loss of responsiveness (try tapping on shoulders)
  • Not breathing normally (tilt their head up for at least five seconds)

    If you witness any of these common symptoms – or have any additional concerns that a heart attack, stroke or cardiac arrest is occurring – please seek medical attention or call 9-1-1  immediately.

For more information about aging issues, please contact us.


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