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Tips for Heart Care

A number of factors, including increasing age, diabetes, genetic or hereditary factors, high blood pressure, smoking, drinking, eating too much fat, chronic kidney disease and high “bad-LDL” cholesterol along with low “good-HDL” cholesterol can contribute to your risk for heart disease.

Historically, males have more heart attacks than females, though females are more likely to die as a result. The biggest reason here is that symptoms for males and females can be quite different and women tend to minimize the warning signs.

In many hospitals, the cardiac care nursing staff is a part of the intensive care staff. Their training and experience places these nurses on the front lines of response to cardiac emergencies, as well as in the development of long-term cardiac care treatment plans. They are also responsible for much of the interaction that takes place with the families of cardiac patients, as well as providing care information to the patients in their charge. Their assistance in the early detection and treatment management of cardiac conditions has a direct impact on the high survivability rates of cardiac patients in the United States.

Most cardiac nursing care is performed within a hospital setting, where patients with life-threatening cardiac conditions undergo surgery and intensive levels of care. There are, however, other environments in which these professionals provide critical services as well. One such environment is a rehabilitation facility.

Cardiac care nursing is vital in these facilities to assist patients in making the transition of lifestyle necessary to ensure improvement in their conditions. Nursing homes with residents who have a history of heart problems often receive regular visits from cardiac care nurses who monitor the health of the facility’s residents, and assist in treatment needs. There are also cardiac nursing personnel who provide in-home visits to patients who require frequent monitoring.

Less elasticity in the walls of your arteries and atherosclerosis may cause high blood pressure, which makes your heart work even harder. The arteries supplying the heart itself (coronary arteries) may narrow. The result of this is less oxygen reaching your heart, which may cause angina or heart attack. A mild increase in blood pressure with age is normal. Blood pressure readings beyond this, however, are cause for concern. Prolonged high blood pressure (called hypertension) can precipitate a heart attack or stroke.

Despite such general age-related deterioration in your cardiovascular system, your heart is strong enough to meet the needs of your body. However, as your body ages, your cardiovascular system has much less reserve capacity for overcoming injury or handling the sudden demands placed on it by stress or illness. Such changes in the cardiovascular system occur gradually rather than overnight.

By the middle years, the process already may be well along. The middle years see many heart and blood pressure problems, particularly in men. People now seem to be more conscious of death due to cancer or AIDS, but heart attacks kill as many people as cancer, AIDS, and all other diseases combined.

Activity level and diet play significant roles in keeping your cardiovascular system healthy. An aerobic exercise, such as vigorous walking or running for at least half an hour a day on at least three days a week, places demands on your cardiovascular system that sitting at a desk does not. Your body responds to the demands of exercise by increasing its capacity to pump blood. This increased capacity is healthy, becomes a characteristic of your body, and stays with you when you are not exercising (provided of course that you keep up the exercise program).

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