We learned this the hard way. A family member with no previous history of heart disease had pressure in his chest. As his family did have a history of heart disease, he got it checked out. Thank God he did. After angioplasty to open the coronary arteries and three stents to keep them open, he came home to a lot of changes.
Cardiac Rehab: You’ll need to exercise, but as a heart patient, it needs to be monitored for the first few weeks to months. Cardiac rehab teaches you what exercises to do, how long to do them and what to watch for if a problem develops. The people in charge also know what to do if the exercises are too much and something happens right there.
Follow Incision Instructions: They are simple, but important.
- 1) Rest: Your body just went through a serious medical procedure.
- 2) Don’t lift: The seal placed in the incision can come open.
- 3) Don’t drive: You may become light headed, and the activities of driving could irritate the seal.
- 4) Cover the incision firmly if you cough or sneeze: The pressure on the muscles of the groin could pop it loose.
Your doctor may have further instructions, so make sure that you follow them.
Diet Changes: Fried chicken, French fries and many other favorite foods will be a thing of the past. You don’t have to eat boring food, but you will have to pay close attention to what you eat to avoid more plaque buildup in your arteries.
Lifestyle Changes: Goodbye recliner, hello treadmill. Well, you can still use the recliner, but you will have to incorporate exercise into your life. Smoking should also become a thing of the past.
Stress Reduction: If I had to pick one thing other than family history for my family member’s problem, it would be stress. There are a lot of ways to reduce the stress you feel, so look for those that will help you the most.
At home stress reducers can include visualization, a relaxing hobby, and if the cardiologist approves it, some mild herbal preparations. Never start taking any supplement without checking first, as many herbs interact with heart medications. If these don’t work, you may need to speak to your doctor about other alternatives.
Cardiovascular disease is a scary diagnosis, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. With the help of your cardiologist and other team members, you can live a long, healthy life.