The Risk Factors Associated with Heart Disease

Risk Factors for Heart DiseaseElderly Care in Portage Park IL

The heart and blood vessels, as with the rest of the body, change with age. The heart wall may thicken, fatty deposits can occur, and cells degenerate. Arteries become stiffer. The good news is that, although the changes of age may increase the chances of heart disease, many of the risk factors for heart disease are modifiable, meaning, they can be reduced by human effort.  These include: high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and smoking. All of these risk factors have two things in common: they can be controlled with diet and exercise.

The Symptoms

Unfortunately, heart disease may sneak up on those you love and strike without warning. For this reason, it’s important to know the signs in order to get prompt medical attention. Many of these symptoms mimic other diseases as well; therefore, it’s always better to be safe and over-attentive than to dismiss a symptom that later proves to be the telltale sign that that a heart attack was ensuing. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A feeling of lightheadedness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A feeling of indigestion
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that may radiate to arms, back or neck
  • Sweating

Heart-Healthy Diet

A heart-healthy diet not only improves your loved one’s chances of reducing the risk of heart disease, it also reduces the risk of stroke, diabetes, cancer and dementia, as well as increases energy levels. Those kinds of rewards should definitely be a motivating factor. A healthy diet consists, predominantly, in eating food as nature intended. This means eating whole food—food you would pluck from a garden. This includes six to nine servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. Berries, citrus, leafy greens and bright colored fruits and vegetables are good choices. Including a vast array of these provides a wide-spread selection of nutrients.  Beans and whole-sprouted grains are whole foods that your heart loves as well.  Meat should be low in fat and limited. Fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids is ideally consumed a minimum of three times a week and includes salmon and sardines.  Low-fat dairy is a good source of calcium and can be found in cheese, yogurt and milk. Foods with a healthy fat content include olive oil, avocado and nuts. On the other end of the fat spectrum are partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils which should be avoided. Limit their intake of alcohol and, if they smoke, it’s time to stop. Foods containing sugar or that are processed should also be placed on the “severely limit” list.


Exercise reduces the arteries’ inclination to stiffen with age. It helps arteries maintain their flexibility, ensuring good blood flow. The American Heart Association recommends exercising 30 minutes a day, five days a week.  If your loved one needs incentive, consider obtaining the aid of an elderly care provider who can accompany your parent on daily walks as well as prepare heart-healthy meals.


If you or your elderly loved one are in need of elderly care in Portage Park, IL and the surrounding areas, contact Right at Home Oak Park Chicago at (708) 445-6000. We serve the communities of Oak Park, Forest Park, Elmwood Park, Broadview, Galewood, Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norridge, Harwood Heights and Chicago’s west side.

Right at Home Hinsdale/Oak Park/Chicago is owned and operated by Robert Stelletello. His background includes extensive experience in business, finance, insurance, not for profits and real estate. He has been an owner of Sunshine Care Alzheimer’s Group Homes in Poway, CA for over 20 years and was the Executive Director for Meals on Wheels Chicago as well as being a program manager and creator of the Community Kitchens welfare to work job training program at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Robert is married with three children and lives in Wheaton, IL.

The Oak Park/Chicago office of Right at Home is a locally owned and operated franchise office of Right at Home, Inc., serving the communities of Oak Park, Forest Park, Elmwood Park, Broadview, Galewood, Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norridge, Harwood Heights and Chicago’s west side.

From our Hinsdale office we serve Hinsdale, LaGrange, Lyons, North Riverside, Brookfield, Willow Springs, Berwyn, Willowbrook and Chicago’s south side. For more information, contact Right at Home Hinsdale/Oak Park/Chicago at or call 708.445.6000.

R. Stelletello
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