As a family caregiver, being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of potentially dangerous health complications is one of the most important tools that you have for protecting your parent and helping them live a higher quality of life. To do this effectively it is critical that you recognize when those signs and symptoms might go beyond the “expected” symptoms or what you think that that condition is supposed to look like.
One prime example of this is heart attack signs and symptoms. You might already know some of the primary or best-known symptoms, such as pain or pressure in the chest, but what you might not realize is that not all people experience the same types of symptoms. In particular, women tend to experience a different range of symptoms of heart attack than men. This can often result in women or their caregivers not realizing that they are suffering a heart attack and not seeking out the medical attention that they need to help them recover effectively.
Some of the signs and symptoms of heart attack that are likely to occur in women include:
• Squeezing, pressure, pain, or a sense of fullness that occurs in the center of the chest and that lasts for more than just a few minutes, which may also disappear and then come back
• Discomfort or a painful sensation in the upper body, particularly in the stomach, back, jaw or neck
• Pain or discomfort in either arm. It is important to recognize that while there is a stereotype that this sensation only occurs in the left arm, it can occur on either side
• Shortness of breath which can occur with or without discomfort or pain in the chest.
• Cold sweat
Often women report feeling as though they have the flu for several days and so they do not seek medical attention, only to get worse and later find out that they actually suffered a heart attack. This makes it extremely important to pay close attention to what they are feeling and get in touch with their doctor if they are showing symptoms of illness.
If your parent has already suffered a heart attack, starting home care for them can be one of the most effective decisions that you can make to help them recover, get healthier, and move forward toward a higher quality of life. When it comes to implementing lifestyle changes, a home care provider can help your parent to understand the need for these changes, provide support and encouragement for them, and work with them to make these changes in a way that is effective and beneficial, but also respects who they are and their lifestyle goals.
This can mean everything from providing transportation to the grocery store or other errands to being in the home with them to guide them through making better nutritional choices and getting active on a regular basis. As a family caregiver this can give you confidence and peace of mind knowing that your loved one is in good hands both when you are with them and not.