This topic is important as it addresses the vulnerability of the elderly to cardiovascular diseases. The outcomes of research prove that the elderly are extremely vulnerable to illness. Only 39% of the elderly in the United States can rate their health conditions as excellent. It is apparent that the remaining proportion that constitutes 61%, experience pitiable health conditions. Amidst 61%, the largest population that suffers from cardiovascular illnesses consists of the elderly. It is vital to address the problem early since illness is the chief cause of death among the elderly in America. In the general population, the increased amounts of cholesterol in foods escalate the risk of contracting and dying from cardiovascular disease (Lutsey, Roux &David et al, 2008, p. 1963).
An additional category of cardiovascular illness called isolated systolic hypertension affects about 9% of the elderly; furthermore, the number is escalating as the population ages. The major cardiovascular diseases that cause elderly deaths entail coronary heart illness, heart failure, and stroke. In the year 2002, cardiovascular diseases killed one in five elderly individuals. The standard age of the affected men was 65.8 and 70.4 for women (Gusmano, Rodwin & Das, 2007, p. 75).
Heart failure results in the hospitalization of about five million elderly, which is an elevated mortality rate. Stroke, which is also cardiovascular disease, is the third leading cause of death among old individuals (Huffman& Galloway 2010, p. 352). The disease results in the deaths of approximately 160,000 individuals in the United States, and among the dying individuals, 7 out of 10 are of the age above 65. Among those who survive death, a third of them become permanently disabled (Taylor, Hughes & Garrison, 2002, p. 549).
Most cardiovascular diseases become more common as individuals age and some types of pathology like senile cardiac amyloidosis are confined to the older age group. In most cases, the elderly who are admitted to the hospitals for surgical purposes have coincidental heart diseases. The estimation of the prevalence of pre-operative cardiovascular in general surgical patients is about 37 to 51% for the elderly aged 65. The prevalence for those aged above 70 is about 41 to 67%, while for those aged above 80 is about 79 to 88% (Schneider, Walton, Salerno et al., 2006 p. 1).
In countries like Japan, there has been an escalation of death rates of the elderly. The prevalence of coronary atherosclerosis among the elderly results from the progression of the pathologic process for many years, because of the risk factors like hypertension and glucose tolerance that augment with aging (Kenji & Katsuhiko, 2001 p. 1).
The primary diagnosis of about 40% of long-term nursing home residents is some of the problems associated with elderly cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular diseases are more than just health issues. They have harmful implications on the financial system of the country. The illness and its causes result in major implications to the financial system for the state, corporate and individuals. This is because, compared to other illnesses, cardiovascular diseases and the healthcare-associated with them result in high medical costs. The epidemic is causing global concern. If the prevention of cardiovascular disease among the elderly entails engaging in regular physical activities, both the elderly and the whole society need to be committed to helping them (World Health Organization, 1986, p.5). The prevention of cardiovascular diseases needs action from the government and the pharmaceutical industries, and not just the affected individuals. Hence, the increase in the occurrence of the disease causes the escalation of the expenses. Promoting the prevention, of the disease will result in the improvement of the economy. It is possible to reduce the mortality rate associated with diseases of this kind of awareness is created regarding the prevention of the diseases. Public education starting from childhood, lifestyle modification, and drug treatment can help prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Description of group
The population of the industrialized and developing world is aging. The elderly are individuals above the age of 65. In the United States, the number of the elderly is approximately 35 million and by the year 2030, the number is expected to double. The medical and economic implications of this demographic shift are staggering since age is the most powerful risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The incidence and prevalence of heart diseases augment with age. Although there are some other factors, which contribute to the high occurrence of the disease, age is the major cause (Barnett & Halverson, 2001 p. 499).
- To reduce cardiovascular diseases among the elderly
- To increase awareness of cardiovascular diseases prevention
- To identify the major cardiovascular diseases and their symptoms
- To find the causes and effects of cardiovascular disease prevalence among the elderly
Details of the program
Reducing cardiovascular disease among the elderly
The program will address the ways of preventing cardiovascular disease among the elderly. The prevention methods in the program entail engaging in regular exercises, avoiding unhealthy foods, discouraging smoking, discouraging high alcohol taking and encouraging the elderly to go for regular check-ups. The program will also help in identifying some of the major cardiovascular diseases and their symptoms. The causes of the prevalence of the disease among the elderly will also be addressed. Additionally, the importance of creating awareness and ways of creating awareness will be addressed through the program.
One of the ways of prevention entails doing regular exercises. All individuals of all ages should make time for exercise in order to reduce the chances of getting the disease at old age. Because of our fast-paced society, many people do not get enough time to exercise their bodies and this contributes to the high occurrence of cardiovascular diseases at old age. For effective exercising, individuals should choose those activities that they enjoy. They should then consult the health care providers so that they can be advised on using the exercise plans that can meet their needs. Exercises are the best way of preventing almost all types of cardiovascular diseases. In old age, individuals tend to reduce physical activities and this contributes to the high occurrence of cardiovascular diseases among the elderly. According to research, individuals should set a side 30 minutes for physical activities of moderate intensity on some days of the week. Exercises are vital since they make individuals burn excess calories in the body, and this reduces the chances of getting cardiovascular disease especially at old age (Hoeger & Hoeger, 2012, p. 40).
One of the major causes of cardiovascular diseases is poor diets. If individuals should eat healthy food at appropriate amounts, it can lower the chances of getting the diseases, especially in the aged. Maintaining a healthy diet can help in the management of risk factors associated with heart diseases (Notes & Readings, 2000, p.2). Moreover, it can help one to lose weight and this can boost one’s energy needed when engaging in physical activities. The elderly should avoid foods that have high-fat contents since they engage in less physical activities than young individuals do. They should take a lot of fruits and vegetables and those foods that contain fibers. Since the elderly never do many physical activities, their bodies do not need foods that have high cholesterol or fats. Otherwise, the fats will be deposited in the heart vessels and this will result in cardiovascular diseases. It is advisable that their diets should contain fish, which contain Omega 3 at least three times a week (Thai, 1999, p.2).
Reducing tobacco use
Tobacco use is one of the causes of cardiovascular diseases. Many of the elderly who currently use tobacco started using it at an early age. According to studies, there is a connection between the cessation of tobacco and the reduction of the occurrence of cardiovascular illness. Hence, all individuals of all ages should stop using tobacco in order to prevent cardiovascular diseases at old age (Thai, 1999, p. 2).
Reduction of salt intake
Reduction of salt intake can result in the reduction of the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases among the elderly. High salt intake can result in high blood pressure and from the research outcomes, high blood pressure causes cardiovascular illness. The elderly should be advised to take foods that have low salt contents in order to prevent the diseases. Moreover, young individuals should also avoid taking too much salt to reduce their chances of having the disease at old age. Direct salt intake should also be avoided as this contributes to high chances of getting cardiovascular disease (Herrera, 2008, p. 1).
Reducing alcohol intake
High alcohol intake has been associated with an increase in cardiovascular diseases (Tannahill, 2008, p. 381). Like tobacco, alcohol consumption starts at a young age, and the habit continues up to old age. Hence, if an individual does not take alcohol when he is young, the chances of him taking alcohol when he is old will be low. Research has shown that those individuals who drink heavily especially the elderly have high chance of getting cardiovascular diseases. Hence, it is vital that individuals should stop taking alcohol when they are still young so that when they age, there will be lower chances of them getting the diseases. The elderly who take alcohol should be advised to stop or reduce their alcohol intake in order to reduce the prevalence of the cardiovascular disease among the elderly (Newswire, 2004, p.1).
Since it is obvious that the elderly are at a high risk of getting cardiovascular diseases compared to individuals of other ages, they should ensure that they go for regular check-ups. In addition, if one is above 40 and their families have a history of cardiovascular diseases, they should ensure they are tested regularly. Going for tests is vital since the diseases can be detected and thus, one can start getting medical care in time. Early detection is important since disabilities caused by the disease can be prevented too (Business Wire, 2007, p. 1).
Creating awareness of cardiovascular disease prevention
Part of the program entails the creation of awareness on the ways of preventing cardiovascular diseases. It is vital to create awareness regarding the disease so that the old can know how to avoid such diseases. The awareness should not only focus on the risk factors connected to the illness, but it should also focus on the ways of accessing cardiovascular care. In recent years, there has been an increase in public knowledge however; many individuals are still not aware of the steps to take in preventing and detecting cardiovascular disease early (Bandura, 2004, p 148). For instance, many Americans fail to comprehend areas where they can get cardiovascular care. Awareness should be created among the public and the physicians. In connection to the public and the referring physicians, the goal is to increase awareness regarding how optimum cardiovascular care can be accessed (Boutin-Foster, George, & Fraser et al, 2007, p. 1).
Awareness can be created through television programmes and the education forums in the community. It is vital that the government should encourage such awareness programs in the country in order to lower cardiovascular risks. About ten to eleven years ago, the occurrence of such diseases in America reduced because of the effectiveness of the awareness programs (Boutin-Foster, George, & Fraser et al, 2007).
Cause and effects of cardiovascular disease prevalence among the elderly
Most of the elderly suffer from one or more cardiovascular diseases. Some of the identified causes of the disease among the elderly are age, smoking of tobacco, high intake of alcohol, taking excess salt, lack of exercise, and unhealthy diet (Ines, 2003, p. 1).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that eliminating all the cardiovascular diseases in the United States would result in the augmentation of the life expectancy by seven years. Because of the high prevalence of cardiovascular disease, the expenses of medication have augmented greatly. For instance, in the year 2008, the cost of healthcare due to the diseases exceeded 503.2-dollar billion. Additionally, the largest percentages of the deaths, which occur in the country, resulting from cardiovascular diseases (Wynd, Murrock & Zeller, 2004, p.140). The majority of the individuals who die are the elderly. More than half of all heart diseases occur within an hour of the onset of the symptoms before the affected individuals reach the hospital. Cardiovascular illness is the main cause of death in the United States, however; between the years 1960 and 2000, there was a decline in the deaths resulting from the illness. The decrease was caused by the creation of awareness through health education. It is therefore important that the country invests in health education programs. This will make more people change their lifestyles in order to reduce the potential risks for these diseases (Ines, 2003, p. 103).
Apart from the escalation in the mortality rate among the elderly, the diseases cause negative impacts to the financial systems of the countries. For instance, the high occurrence of cardiovascular diseases will force the governments to funds health promotion programs. More money will also be used in the research programs in order to produce effective medications. All these activities increase the individuals’ and the government’s expenditures (Ines, 2003, p. 103).
Cardiovascular diseases among the elderly
The common cardiovascular diseases entail stroke, heart attack, coronary heart disease, and high blood pressure. Individuals need to go for checkups in order to detect them early. The elderly individuals should acknowledge the admonition signs of the ailments.
It is vital for the elderly to observe some of the common signs in order to detect heart attack early enough. If one experiences chests pains, discomfort, pressure, or squeezing which does not last for long, these can be the warning signs for cardiovascular disease. These feelings may stop for some time them recur later. Additionally, one can experience pain, which spreads out to the shoulders, neck, or the areas around the arms. There can also be signs like chest discomfort and shortness of breath, light headaches, sweating, nausea, or fainting. If an elderly or anyone notices such signs, it is vital to go for checkups as soon as possible (Hoeger & Hoeger, 2012, p. 49).
Stroke is one of the cardiovascular diseases, which affects most of the elderly. The yearly deaths of the elderly due to stroke are approximately 137, 1000. In the prevention of such illnesses, it is advisable to keep watching some of the warning signs for early detection of the disease (Mackay & Mensah, p. 2004).
The warning signs of stroke include sudden weakness or numbness of body parts especially the face, arms or legs on one side. One can also experience severe headaches, sudden confusion, dizziness, and difficulties in speech or understanding. Additionally, the warning signs include sudden difficulties in walking, loss of balance or coordination, and sudden visual difficulties (Mackay & Mensah, p. 2004).
Coronary heart disease (CHD)
Coronary heart disease is also another cardiovascular disease and angina is the major warning sign of the illness. Angina is the pain that one feels in the chest. Apart from the chest, the pain can also be experienced in the areas that are near the chest like the jaws, shoulders, and neck. Other signs entail difficulties in breathing and sweating even when it is not hot. Other signs like nausea, fatigue, and heartbeats that are not regular are also signs of coronary heart disease. If such signs are experienced regularly, one should immediately report to the medical centers for checkups (Cleveland, 2012, p. 1).
High blood pressure (HBP)
High blood pressure is one of the cardiovascular diseases and direct taking of salts or taking of foods that contain high salt contents trigger it. About 32,000 elderly die because of the illness and it is vital to know the symptoms so that one can detect them early. Usually, most individuals do not experience symptoms when they have High blood pressure. The symptoms can only be experienced in the rare cases of malignant high blood pressure, which signs may occur in the form of headaches. Before damaging the organs, the disease cannot cause any symptoms. The only way that individuals can know if they have high blood pressure and how it is, is to go to hospitals for regular check-ups. Additionally, individuals of the age 40 and above should go for a health check regularly (Hart, Murphy, & Fahey, 2004, p. 1).
Evaluating the effectiveness of the program
There are several ways that the success of the program can be evaluated. In the program, two common ways will be used in the evaluation process, which are a process and summative evaluation. The process evaluation will be at the planning and execution stage to monitor the progress of the process. The cumulative evaluation will be used to evaluate the procedure at the culmination so that the successes and the failures in realizing the objectives of the program can be documented (Family Health Teams, 2006, p. 1).
It will be helpful to use the two types of evaluation. Indeed, when measuring the short-term results, the best method is the process evaluation. For instance, the impact of the program can be evaluated using the process evaluation, while the long-term effects like the change of lifestyle can be evaluated using the summative evaluation. Additionally, the assessment of the alteration of knowledge after the creation of awareness of the prevention of cardiovascular disease is the impact evaluation. One should not assume that if there were an increase in the knowledge there would always be a change of behavior. An effective program of health promotion is one that is intrinsically mindful of these issues and tries to include some actions that will affect the results’ indicators to the plans (Family Health Teams, 2006, p. 1).
In the evaluation of the health promotion program, it is vital to center on cost-effectiveness. By doing this, an individual can comprehend how he used the resources and time efficiently in completing the program. Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of the program is vital since it will enable one to look for other similar alternative programs that can meet similar objectives but at a lesser cost.
Nutrition Resource Centre:
- “Assists community nutrition practitioners across Ontario to deliver quality nutrition programming in a health promotion context” www.nutritionrc.ca
Physical Activity Resource Centre:
- “Provides support to Physical Activity Promoters across Ontario through consultation, training, networking, referrals and information-sharing” www.ophea.net/parc
The Health Communication Unit (THCU):
- “Offers an on-line course covering essential health promotion concepts” www.thcu.ca
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