Being diagnosed with a heart condition can be a good thing, since some people do not get the privilege of a diagnosis. They perish only to have the cause written down after the fact. A diagnosis means that life is still happening, and there are plenty of ways to do better, get better, and live.
Patient education is as critical as the appropriate diagnoses and care of heart conditions. The self-education is not for self-diagnosis. It is supposed to assist in making appropriate decisions when presented with care and treatment plans. Having a more detailed understanding of what really is happening with the heart helps to not overemphasize or minimize care and treatment options.
Take the Meds
Self-education plays a role here too. Know what the medications are supposed to accomplish. Consider the potential side effects and realize that they are a potential, not a definite, thing that is going to happen. Then, take the medications exactly as prescribed. There is a tendency with some patients to agree to treatment plans and then not follow the plans. Medications work best when taken exactly as prescribed. Present any problems to the doctor to have the prescription altered.
Eat the Right Food
It does not matter if 60 or 70 years of eating the wrong foods have passed. Beginning to eat for heart health right now can make an incredible difference. Dietary changes can immediately bring cholesterol levels and blood pressure down. Those needing to shed some weight will watch the pounds disappear when the diet is brought under proper control.
Do the Exercise
Many heart conditions come with a prescription from a cardiologist to get started with an exercise regimen along with strong advice to stick with it. People with heart conditions often think it is counter-intuitive to work a heart that already is in trouble. However, the fact remains that heart health and regular daily exercise go hand in hand. Sedentary living is now associated as a heart health risk equal to smoking. Very few cardiac patients would be told to abstain from any physical exertion.
Have Advocates and Confidants
Friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors or a spouse are all candidates to become advocates or confidants. A person could be both. Advocates are informed, ready and willing to speak up for you during doctor visits, testing, and when tempted to stray from your treatment plan. Staying on course needs a hand on the wheel. It can sometimes seem overwhelming, and a strong advocate can steer a heart patient through the rough spots. Confidants are there to listen to all the good and bad stuff that is on the mind of the person receiving cardiac care who will never share a word of it with others. A support group could be a great opportunity to meet confidants.
A diagnosis of a heart condition is not the end. It is an opportunity to take control to optimize life that is still yet to be lived. Take time to learn about the condition, and treatment options. Join a support group, follow the treatment plans to the letter, and push fear aside to move ahead. It’s also just as important to talk to specialist for further treatment and testing to keep your health in good shape.
Informational credit to ICE, Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about health, fitness, home and family. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’).appendChild(s);