Although some heart attacks come on quickly and without warning, the majority are prefaced by some degree of mild pain and discomfort. It’s important to know caregiving tips if someone you love has or may be at risk for a heart attack, beginning with understanding the warning signs to watch for:
- Chest discomfort: An uncomfortable sensation of pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the middle of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and then returns.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the neck, back, jaw, or stomach.
- Shortness of breath: May or may not be accompanied by chest pain or discomfort.
- Other symptoms: Cold sweat, nausea, and/or dizziness or lightheadedness.
Women may experience new or different heart attack symptoms for a month or even more prior to experiencing a heart attack, according to the National Institutes of Health. Women who are experiencing a heart attack can have these less predictable symptoms:
- Problems with sleeping
- Weakness in the arms
Caregivers can experience an enormous amount of stress in providing care for a loved one after a heart attack. This level of stress is often high enough to cause negative effects on their own health. At Hillendale Home Care, we suggest the following tips for family caregivers to relieve stress:
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Understand that there are things that are not within your control.
- Be assertive rather than aggressive. Assert feelings, opinions or beliefs in a positive way without becoming angry, defensive or passive.
- Incorporate relaxation techniques; try meditation, yoga or tai-chi.
- Exercise routinely. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.
- Eat nutritious, well-balanced meals.
- Learn time management techniques.
- Set appropriate limits and say no to requests that would lead to excessive stress.
- Set aside time for hobbies and interests.
- Get plenty of rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
- Don’t turn to alcohol, drugs or compulsive behaviors to try to manage your stress.
- Seek out social support. Spend time with friends and family who uplift you.
- Schedule an appointment with a psychologist or other mental health professional who is trained in stress management or biofeedback techniques.
- Partner with a trusted home care provider for respite care, such as Hillendale Home Care.
Hillendale Home Care, the leaders in home care services in Walnut Creek and surrounding areas, has years of experience providing care for those who have experienced heart attacks. We are always here to answer any questions about heart attack prevention or how to care for someone after a heart attack. Contact us at 925-933-8181 for more caregiving tips and resources or to request a free in-home consultation to learn more.