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American Heart Month Series: Living with a Heart Condition

By Jessica Deng

American Heart Month is a wonderful opportunity to focus our attention on ways to promote and maintain heart health. If you have been diagnosed with a heart condition or had a heart attack, it’s normal to wonder how it will affect your life.Having a positive attitude and looking after your health will help you to manage your heart condition and reduce the risk of having a serious cardiac event such as a heart attack. We’ve been offering recommendations to help alleviate heart failure symptoms and to slow your disease’s progression and improve your everyday life.

Today we’d like to share some tips on living with a heart condition and how different aspects of your life may be affected.

  • Coping after a diagnosis of heart disease
    It is common to experience emotional distress and behavioral disturbance after a diagnosis. Problems such as depression and anxiety are especially common. Fortunately, there are effective treatments for depression and anxiety available, including psychological interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and antidepressant medications.
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
    Cardiac rehabilitation is a specialized service to help you recover from your heart condition and get back to normal activities. Health professionals teach you how to manage your condition and support you in making healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Monitoring your blood pressure
    Monitoring your blood pressure at home, in addition to regular monitoring in a doctor’s office, can help control high blood pressure. Chart your blood pressure readings over time and share these with your doctor to potentially reveal trends and or eliminate false readings.
  • Healthy eating
    Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as well as and choosing lean meats and fish can help improve your heart health. Choosing low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry, more nuts or legumes, as well as non-tropical vegetable oils may be good choices for you.
  • Seek support
    Living with heart disease is easier when you have a team behind you! Leaning on friends and family or just spending quality time with them is also crucial to heart health. You and your doctor can come up with additional strategies for healthy living with heart disease.
  • Reduce chronic stress
    The body’s stress response evolved to help us react in dangerous situations: it releases adrenaline, shifts blood to our muscles, and increases our breathing and heart rates. Avoid the additional strain on your heart that comes along with high-stress situations!

Maintaining a healthy heart is essential to living a long, healthy life. Making diet and exercise changes may help ease symptoms and improve the quality of life of people with cardiovascular conditions. Keeping your heart healthy is something you should work on every day.

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