Cardiac issues can be a source of concern for many aging parents and other seniors. Certainly as one ages, one does want to pay attention to any potential triggers of heart issues that might occur. Yet sometimes those triggers are not always obvious. Following are several issues associated with potential heart problems that may not seem to have an obvious connection.
- Migraine aura. Most people know about migraine headaches; not everyone knows that some people experience “auras” in advance of (and sometimes instead of) the migraine headaches. The aura is an area of rolling, flashing lights which travels across the field of vision slowly over the course of 10-30 minutes. The Women’s Health Study found that women who experience auras are at an increased risk of having a heart attack.
- Daily asthma. Asthma is a common condition, and fortunately current medication is good at bringing it under control when needed. However, people who need to use their asthma controller every day are 60% more likely to experience a heart attack than those who don’t. Also, those who were diagnosed with asthma as an adult (instead of as a child) are more likely to have heart issues.
- Weak handshake. Surprisingly, some doctors believe that the strength of a person’s grip is as accurate a predictor of future heart trouble as blood pressure. The exact reason for the link isn’t clear, although it likely has something to do with vascular function. Aging parents that have a stronger grip may have a stronger heart.
- Late dining. Eating a heavy meal too close to bedtime isn’t good for one’s digestion — and now it turns out that it may not be good for the heart either. One study found that eating dinner within two hours of hitting the sack isn’t a good idea if a person has high blood pressure; they are much more likely to have that blood pressure remain at a high level while they sleep (which is supposed to be a time when blood pressure goes down). And that’s not good for the heart.
Aging parents and other seniors should be aware of these possible contributors to heart issues. Having a conversation with their doctor about how to prevent cardiac issues is always a good idea.