Medical Alerts for Seniors with Pacemakers

Medical Alerts for Seniors with Pacemakers

time icon 6 min read update icon Sept. 28, 2019


Individuals may require pacemakers for many reasons. One of these is abnormal heartbeat, as the normal aging of a heart may cause it to beat too slowly. A pacemaker is a small device that is placed under the skin in the chest to help maintain a normal heartbeat rhythm. Pacemaker implants have risen more than 50 percent in the past two decades, and have helped patients to have better mental clarity and live more energetic lives.

Pacemaker Overview

Medications, as well as some genetic conditions, can cause heart rate abnormalities.Studies show that approximately three million patients are fitted with pacemakers, with at least 600,000 patients having a pacemaker implanted each year. With minor surgery, a pacemaker can be implanted in a patient’s chest. After surgery, some precautions must be followed to ensure the device can perform at optimum capacity.

Pacemakers can be implanted temporarily as a means to treat an abnormal heartbeat, medication overdose, or surgery complication. In addition to being placed temporarily, pacemakers can also treat slowed heartbeats by being implanted permanently. Pacemakers can also be used to treat heart failure patients. Pacemakers are small pieces of technology that play a big part in granting a second life to those with heart conditions.

Pacemaker Impairment

Pacemakers are built with durability and can last for years. However, as with all electronic devices, pacemakers do require care and upkeep to prevent malfunctions. A malfunctioning pacemaker can make managing heart rhythms impossible. Newer pacemakers also can monitor and record the electrical activity of the heart. Some pacemakers can even monitor the temperature of blood, rate of breathing and other vital signs.

When operating correctly, pacemakers adjust heart rates to accommodate changes in activity.Pacemakers are not always a permanent fixture, as they may be placed temporarily.Temporary pacemakers can be used to treat interim heart problems, such as a slowed heartbeat.

To prevent a malfunctioning pacemaker, individuals should follow the recommendations made by healthcare professionals. These recommendations can include:

  • Allow adequate time for the pacemaker to settle firmly into place
  • Patients should avoid abrupt, erratic or irregular actions that could cause the device to pull away from the body.
  • Individuals should strive to be physically active each day, increasing physical activity gradually. Activity promotes circulation to the arms and legs.
  • Know your physical limitations. The proper amount of activity should promote improved health, not worsen your physical health.
Medical Alert Benefits

The technology of pacemakers has had animmense influence on the medical world. However, as with all technology, pacemakers can be subject to malfunction. A malfunction can prove to be life-threatening if not addressed right away. Although pacemakers rarely experience failures, it is important to acknowledge that they can happen.Reasons for a pacemaker failure can include a weakening battery, frayed or broken wiring, and electromagnetic interference from other electronic devices.

The results of a failing pacemaker can prove to be disastrous. Having medical alerts can help ensure you live a happy and active life with minimum worries of what could go wrong. Medical alerts will notify professional urgent care personnel if a pacemaker should malfunction. 

Complications of a failing pacemaker include:

  • Feeling faint and dizzy
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Chest pains
  • Increased or slowed heart rate
Safety Without Medical Alerts

When maintained and used correctly, pacemakers can greatly improve a person’s quality of life.

There are many precautions which individuals can take to preserve a safe and healthy lifestyle.

  • Monitor and record heart rate: The patient’s pulse should be recorded often (or as recommended by healthcare professionals). If abnormal, the rate should be immediately reported to a healthcare professional.
  • Chest pains: When medications are taken exactly as instructed, they are designed to work in conjunction with the pacemaker to alleviate chest pain and help the heart to pump regularly.
  • Fainting and dizziness: Physical activity should always include a warm up and cool down period. If one experiences dizziness or fatigue, physical activity should be halted immediately, and medical attention should be sought. Additionally, those wearing a pacemaker should be aware of any shocks from the pacemaker. The shocking sensations can be uncomfortable for many and should be reported if felt. 
Pacemaker Precautions:
  1. Avoid overexertion: Avoiding strenuous activities will help one to avoid overexertion. After implantation, the patient should gradually increase the duration and intensity of exercise.
  2. Monitor your activity: Moderate to high intensity activities should be monitored by a physician.
  3. Avoid direct hits: If an individual chooses to participate in a physical, recreational or sporting activity, extra precautions should be made to protect against trauma to the pacemaker. A pacemaker could malfunction if a hit is made to the area.
  4. Avoid certain high-voltage or radar machines: Pacemakers were designed to prevent sudden cardiac arrests by safely modulating the heart.While wearing a pacemaker, it is vital to avoid sources of disruption, such as strong magnetic and electrical fields. 
Pacemaker Medical Alerts Conclusion

Medical alert services can allow an individual to remain independent while receiving added security in the comfort of their own home. Heart failure is usually characterized by feelings of dizziness, trouble breathing and immense chest pains. During an emergency such as this, every moment counts. 

medical alert system is an extra safety precaution that can serve as an important link for protecting life. Pacemakers and medical alert services are in the business of granting people with heart conditions a chance to live full and rich lives.

T. Mashae Pearson - Senior Advisor

Shae is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.