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Partnering on Heart Recovery - A Support System can promote Wellness

Partnering on Heart Recovery - A Support System can promote Wellness

Balancing Heart & Mind

In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death. Stroke is
the fifth leading cause of death. The deaths are caused not just by the
disease itself, but also by the aftermath.
You could be experiencing a variety of emotional or behavioral issues.
Depression and anxiety are particularly common problems. These
circumstances have an impact on your emotional state as well as your heart
disease symptoms. Thankfully, there are effective therapies for depression
and anxiety, such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and antidepressant
There is a clear correlation between cardiac disease and depression,
according to several studies. After a heart attack, a heart disease diagnosis,
or heart surgery, it's natural to not be your typical cheerful self. There may
be some dread and uncertainty about what is to come, as well as lifestyle
adjustments that will take some time to adjust to.
So, with a heart event or diagnosis, a certain amount of grief and
exhaustion is to be expected. However, it should only be transitory. Your
mood should improve as you get back into a routine. If it doesn't, you
should contact your doctor right away. Depression has a strong link to heart
disease, and it might jeopardize your recovery.

A two-way conversation

People with cardiac illness, such as heart failure or a heart attack, are more
likely than those without to develop depression, according to studies. And
because depression is linked to poorer outcomes and an increased risk of
death in cardiac patients, it is vital to address it.
“Some people's sadness may be caused by something related to a cardiac
event, such as physical symptoms, drug reactions, recovery, lifestyle
changes, or feeling overwhelmed.” That comes from health psychologist
Carolyn Fisher, PhD. Depression and heart disease also have an inverserelationship: someone who has had a history of depression is more likely to
have a heart attack.

“Mentally and physically, I'm bouncing back” mindset

Because our brains and bodies are so intertwined, sadness can have a
variety of effects on how a person heals following a heart attack or surgery.
It may reduce their drive to take their prescriptions, eat nutritious foods, or
get up and exercise, for example.
If you or a loved one has recently had a heart attack or surgery, it's crucial
to keep track of how your mental health is recovering. It may appear
straightforward, but it's often easier said than done. “Many patients have a
long history of playing the role of ‘helper' or ‘provider,' and the thought of
taking care of themselves may feel strange,” she says.
After a heart attack, take care of yourself by eating a nutritious diet, getting
enough sleep, exercising regularly, and not drinking or smoking
excessively. Saying no to obligations that exhaust you or make you feel
overwhelmed, prioritizing things that you enjoy, and practicing relaxation
techniques are all examples of self-care. A cardiac rehabilitation program
may be recommended by your doctor to help you understand nutrition,
make sustainable healthy behavior changes, maintain safe activity levels,
and improve the quality of your daily life.

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When should you seek assistance?

It's natural for someone's thoughts to move to death following a
life-threatening event like a heart attack, according to Dr. Fisher. “What to
look out for is if these ideas become overwhelming, or if the individual
begins to consider suicide,” she explains. Following heart surgery, a heart
attack, or another heart ailment, you may have the following symptoms of
clinical depression:

  • Withdrawal from people and activities is a common symptom of
  • Daily tasks are difficult to do.
  • Not getting pleasure from things that used to make you happy.
  • Suicidal sentiments or ideas.

If your symptoms last longer than a few weeks, consult your general care
physician or a cardiologist. He or she will inquire about your experiences
and make recommendations for next measures. Dr. Fisher says, "I
encourage patients to use their support system." “It might be difficult for
many people after a heart attack to ask for help when they need it, but it is
vital that they feel supported.”
It will be easier to stick to your heart disease treatment plan if you address
these issues. Any concerns you have about your psychological well-being
can be assessed by your healthcare expert, such as your GP or cardiac
rehabilitation nurse.

Changing Your Way of Life

A lack of dedication to a heart-healthy lifestyle is one of the leading causes
of these figures. Your lifestyle is both your best protection and your
responsibility in the fight against heart disease and stroke. The following
suggestions are part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. All modifiable risk factors
for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke can be reduced by following
these simple actions.

Quit smoking.

Quit smoking if you're a smoker. Encourage anyone who smokes in your
home to give up. We understand how difficult it is. However, recovering
from a heart attack or stroke, as well as living with chronic heart disease, is
more difficult. Make the decision to stop smoking. If you require assistance,
we are here to assist you.

Choose healthy eating habits.

One of the most effective weapons in the fight against cardiovascular
disease is a healthy diet. Other controllable risk factors, including
cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, can be influenced by the
food you eat and how much of it you eat. Choose nutrient-rich foods over
nutrient-poor foods, which are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other
nutrients but low in calories. Choose a diet that emphasizes vegetables,fruits, and whole grains, as well as low-fat dairy products, chicken, fish,
legumes, nontropical vegetable oils, and nuts, while limiting sweets,
sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meat consumption. Also, to maintain
a healthy weight, make sure your food and physical activity levels are in
sync so you're burning as many calories as you're consuming.

High cholesterol levels in the blood

A buildup of fat in your arteries is a recipe for disaster. It may cause a heart
attack or stroke at some point in the future. Reduce your saturated fat,
trans fat, and cholesterol intake, and get some exercise. If diet and
exercise alone aren't enough to lower those numbers, medication may be
the answer. Take it exactly as directed by the doctor. Here's how to figure
out where those numbers should be:

  • Total Cholesterol- The following equation is used to compute your
    total cholesterol score: HDL + LDL + 20% of your triglyceride level.
  • LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) is "bad" cholesterol. A low
    LDL cholesterol level is thought to be beneficial to heart health.
    According to the latest guidelines from the American Heart
    Association, your LDL value should no longer be the primary
    consideration in guiding treatment to avoid heart attack and stroke.
    The guidelines state that patients using statins are no longer required
    to lower their LDL cholesterol levels to a set target level. LDL
    cholesterol can be raised by lifestyle factors such as a diet heavy in
    saturated and transfats.
  • HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) is "good"
    cholesterol, and greater levels are usually better. You're more likely to
    get heart disease if your HDL cholesterol is low. Low HDL cholesterol
    is common in those with high blood triglycerides. Lower HDL
    cholesterol can be caused by genetic factors, type 2 diabetes,
    smoking, being overweight, and being sedentary.
  • Every day, engage in some form of physical activity. According to
    studies, at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity
    per week can help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and
    maintain a healthy weight. And something is always preferable to
    nothing. If you've been inactive for a while, take it slowly at first. Even a few minutes at a time could be beneficial to your health. According
    to studies, those who have even a modest level of fitness are
    substantially less likely to die young than those who have a poor level
    of fitness.
  • Alcohol should be consumed in moderation. Excessive alcohol use
    can cause high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, stroke, cancer, and
    other disorders. It can raise triglyceride levels and cause irregular
    heartbeats. Obesity, alcoholism, suicide, and accidents are all linked
    to excessive alcohol usage. Moderate alcohol use, on the other hand,
    has a cardioprotective impact. Limit your alcohol consumption to no
    more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for
    women if you drink. One drink is defined as 1-1/2 fluid ounces of
    80-proof alcohol such as bourbon, Scotch, vodka, gin, and other
    similar spirits, 5 fluid ounces of wine, or 12 fluid ounces of ordinary
    beer, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and
    Alcoholism. It's not a good idea for nondrinkers to start drinking or for
    drinkers to increase their consumption.

Following a diagnosis of a heart ailment or heart disease, many people are
concerned about their relationships. It can alter how you see yourself as a
person and your place in the home or family, as well as cause depression.
Interactions with partners, as well as relationships with friends and family,
can be very crucial in helping someone who is living with heart disease.

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