SCAD stands for spontaneous coronary artery dissection. It isn’t a terribly common condition, but when it occurs, it is serious. It can lead to a heart attack and may even be fatal. SCAD can occur at any age. If your older family member has recently experienced the condition, knowing more about it can help you to better understand their care needs.
SCAD occurs when a blood vessel in the heart tears. When the inner layers of the vessel tear, it causes pockets to form where blood can collect. As a result, blood may not be able to get through the vessel or only a small amount may be able to get through. When blood flow to the heart is stopped, it causes a heart attack. Limited blood flow can cause severe chest pain.
The condition is more common in women than men and typically occurs when the person is in their 40s or 50s. However, it can occur in men and can also happen regardless of age. It can also happen in people who are otherwise healthy, having no risk factors for heart disease.
Symptoms of SCAD are the same as those for heart attack. They include:
- Chest pain.
- A heartbeat that feels rapid or fluttery.
- Pain in the arms, shoulders, or jaw.
- Feeling short of breath.
- Extreme tiredness.
Causes of SCAD
Doctors aren’t sure just what causes SCAD to occur in some people. However, they have identified some risk factors that increase the likelihood of the condition. Some risk factors for SCAD are:
- Being female.
- Underlying Condition: Some kinds of conditions that affect the blood vessels increase the chances of SCAD. One such condition is fibromuscular dysplasia, which makes the cells in the walls of an artery grow more quickly than normal. This causes artery walls to be weaker than they should be.
- Extreme Physical Activity: Extreme overexertion can lead to SCAD.
- Genetic Diseases of the Connective Tissues: Certain hereditary conditions, like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Marfan syndrome, may increase the risk of SCAD.
- Severe High Blood Pressure: If high blood pressure is untreated and becomes very high, SCAD may occur.
Senior care can assist your older family member while they are recovering from SCAD. People who have experienced SCAD have usually had a heart attack, which means they will probably go through cardiac rehab. A senior care provider can drive them to rehab appointments and help them to follow instructions for at home recovery. Senior care providers can prepare healthy meals to give the older adult the strength they need to heal. In addition, a senior care provider can offer peace of mind to both the elderly person and their family members, knowing that someone is nearby to offer help when it is needed.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE IS CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN KNIGHTDALE, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT SENIORS HELPING SENIORS TODAY. CALL (919) 761-5346.