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CNA Training & Classes | August 20, 2017

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Cardiovascular Problems

The cardiovascular system composes of heart and blood vessels, which constantly circulate blood and transport nutrients to different parts of the body. Any disease or illness which can affect this system requires specific and special care to maintain health and speed up the recovery.

Heart Disease

Hear disease is one of the most common causes of death among elderly residents. Blood vessels can be affected by various diseases, causing it to block blood circulation and nutrient distribution, which in return can cause death.

Arteries that supply the heart with oxygen can also be a target for illnesses as they become weaker with age. These arteries are called coronary arteries and can become too narrow due to accumulation of fat or plaques. The more narrow it becomes, less nutrients and oxygen will be delivered, causing body to respond in the form of chest pains or angina.

Arteriosclerosis or the narrowing of an arteries causes symptoms of confusion, light-headedness and also dizziness. These symptoms can endanger the person due to risk of falls, accidents and injuries.

If any of these signs are observed in ptients, you should stop the resident from walking and instead hold him safely and place him on a chair or a bed. If nothing is available then put him in the floor.

Stay with the resident while calling for help to make sure that he is safe. Thoroughout assessment, recording and also reporting is very important especially when noting arythmia.

Aside from the diseases which cause narrowing and blockages of the artery, a simple blood clot can be a cause of a heart attack (also known as an acute myocardial infarction). This condition is very dangerous and it requires emergency intervention and transport to the nearest emergency room.

After a heart attack, the heart will be unable to pump blood normally. This will lead to congestion of the heart, which will become a cause of fluid build up in the lungs.

As the lungs are filled with fluids, the lungs cannot expand to the fullest making the resident dyspneic or unable to breath properly.

Conditions of the Circulatory System

As discussed above, even a small blood clot can be a cause of blockage of an artery or vein. The clot is called a thrombus and they may result in disability and even death if not treated promptly.

The area where blood clotting occurs usually becomes reddened, swelled and painful. In the brain, thrombus can cause a stroke; in the lungs they cause respiratory distress while in the heart they cause heart attacks.

When you see a resident to be in the state of dyspnea, report it immediately to the nurse because it might be a sign of the some of the conditions named above.

Hypertension or High Blood Pressure

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a condition where the resident’s blood pressure is high enough to exceed 140/90. In order to diagnose it, one needs to get two consecutive readings in the same arm.

Residents with hypertension can end up having heart diseases and it can be damaging to other organs as well. Hypertension’s exact cause is still not known yet certain factors such as obesity, diabetes and other factors can lead to hypertension.

For residents with such condition, a special care should be provided, including the diet which does not cause edema, monitoring intake and output of the resident, restrictions in diet regarding fatty, salty and sugary foods and many others.

Monitoring vital signs is one of the key aspects in controlling hypertension. In order to determine peaks of high blood pressure report it to the nurse or doctor and who then decides on the the proper medication and intervention. Aside from that, close observation of the patient’s condition should be observed at all times and any change in the condition should be reported immediately.