During National Heart Month, there are two important ways to show your heart some love: learn how to maintain heart health, and understand how to best recuperate if you do experience a heart procedure.
Care for Your Heart
These simple steps will help maintain heart fitness by keeping cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check – two principal risk factors for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
- Modify your diet. We truly are what we eat. Replace foods that are high in saturated or trans-fat, salt, and sugar with healthier options like fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats including poultry and fish, lentils and beans, and low-fat dairy products.
- Reduce your weight. For somebody who is too heavy, dropping as little as 5% of total body weight can make a big difference in blood pressure levels. Incorporating the suggested amount of aerobic activity (30 minutes most days of the week) is an excellent way to do this while conditioning one’s heart. Before beginning, make sure to talk to your physician first, and start slowly, working your way up over time.
- Avoid smoking cigarettes and secondhand smoke. Quit – or avoid starting – smoking. But be advised that even secondhand smoke can harm the heart.
- Reduce stress. Life, particularly in the midst of a pandemic, is quite stressful. Take time to yourself every day for at least 15 minutes to take part in relaxing activities you enjoy: reading a good book, listening to music, going on a walk, chatting with a friend, prayer or meditation.
- See the doctor on a regular basis. At least yearly, arrange for a checkup so that any new conditions can be caught and addressed early, and any existing conditions can be kept under control.
If You’ve Experienced Heart Problems…
Recovering from cardiac arrest or a heart procedure can be a complicated process, sometimes taking weeks or even months. During this period, you may have:
- Chest pain
- Mood swings or depression
- Appetite changes
- Itchiness, tingling, numbness, or swelling around the incision site
- Difficulty with sleeping
- Shortness of breath
- Short-term memory loss or confusion
- Weakness and fatigue
One of the most effective ways to maximize this recovery period is to partner with a professional home care provider, such as Anthem Home Care, an award-winning provider of in-home senior care in Portland and the surrounding areas. Doctors typically advise having someone in the home for at least the initial few weeks of recovery from a heart procedure. Our senior care experts are fully trained and experienced in watching for changes in condition and reporting them immediately, along with providing crucial help in a number of ways, such as:
- Help with safely bathing and showering and getting dressed
- Companionship to engage in chats and activities to brighten each day
- Meal planning and preparation
- Housekeeping and doing the laundry
- Medication reminders
- Encouragement and motivation to follow through with the doctor’s recommended exercise plan
- Transportation to follow-up appointments
- Picking up medications and running errands
- And so much more