If you are one of the millions of Americans suffering from heart disease, making some lifestyle changes can help heal your damaged heart. Follow these tips and start your road to recovery.
Listen to your Doctor
Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional to see what you should and shouldn’t do to recover from heart disease. Making a recovery can take time, but with the right guidance you should be back in good health before you know it. Take medications as prescribed by health care provider (HCP) and to let them know if you are having side effects. Do not stop medication unless your HCP says you can. Follow the guidelines set by your doctor and don’t be afraid to get a second or third opinion.
If you are a smoker, quitting is one of the first steps to heal a damaged heart. As a smoker, your heart will never be able to heal. That is because each cigarette damages the lining of your arteries, leading to a buildup of fatty material (atheroma) which narrows the artery. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, among persons diagnosed with coronary heart disease, quitting smoking greatly reduces the risk of recurrent heart attack and cardiovascular death. In many studies, this reduction in risk has been 50 percent or more.
As long as your doctor says it is ok, you can begin a daily exercise program. Your heart is a muscle and the best way to keep it fit is to get the blood pumping through good old fashioned exercise. The best exercise for heart health is aerobic exercise and includes activities such as running/jogging, bicycling or swimming.
Change your Eating Habits
If you have suffered from a heart attack already, eating right is a must-do to prevent future episodes. The food you eat (and the amount) can affect other controllable risk factors: cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and overweight. Choose nutrient-rich foods — which have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but are lower in calories — over nutrient-poor foods. Choose a diet that emphasizes intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, non-tropical vegetable oils, and nuts; and limits intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats. Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to develop a low-fat, low-sodium diet and avoid saturated fat and trans fat when possible. These fats are a direct contributor to clogging your arteries.
Follow these tips on your path to recovery and notify your health care provider if you have symptoms such as chest pain/tightness, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, increased fatigue or cold sweats.