During National Heart Month, there are a couple of important ways you can show your heart some TLC: understand how to keep your heart in good condition, and figure out how to best recuperate if you’ve experienced heart surgery.
Look After Your Heart
These basic steps will help improve and maintain heart health by keeping cholesterol and blood pressure levels in balance – two key risk factors for cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.
- Alter your eating habits. We really are what we eat. Try replacing foods that are abundant in saturated or trans-fat, salt, and sugar with healthier choices such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats such as fish and poultry, beans and lentils, and low-fat dairy products.
- Reduce your weight. For someone who is at an unhealthy weight, shedding as little as 5% of overall body weight could make a big difference in blood pressure levels. Incorporating the suggested amount of aerobic exercise (30 minutes most days of the week) is a great way to do this while conditioning the heart. Be sure to talk to your physician first, and begin gradually, working your way up over time.
- Avoid smoking cigarettes and secondhand smoke. Quit – or don’t start – smoking. But be advised that even secondhand smoke can harm the heart.
- Decrease stress. Life, particularly in the middle of a pandemic, is extremely demanding. Take time to yourself every day for at least fifteen minutes to engage in comforting activities you take pleasure in: reading a good book, listening to music, going on a walk, talking with a friend, prayer or meditation.
- Visit your doctor regularly. At least once a year, arrange for a checkup so that any new conditions can be detected and taken care of early, and any existing conditions can be kept under control.
If You’ve Experienced Heart Issues…
Recovering from cardiac arrest or surgery can be a complicated process, generally taking weeks or even months. During this period, you might have:
- Pain in your chest
- Mood swings or depression
- Appetite changes
- Itchiness, tingling, numbness, or swelling at the incision site
- Difficulty with sleeping
- Shortness of breath
- Short-term memory loss or confusion
- Weakness and fatigue
One of the best ways to ease this recuperation period is to partner with Abby Senior Care, a trusted provider of non-medical home care in Denver and the surrounding communities. Health care professionals typically recommend having someone in the home for at least the first few weeks of recovery from cardiac surgery. Our care providers are fully trained and experienced in monitoring changes in condition and reporting them immediately, along with providing invaluable assistance in a number of ways, such as:
- Help with safely taking showers or baths and getting dressed
- Companionship to take part in conversations and activities to brighten each day
- Meal planning and preparation
- Housekeeping and laundry
- Medication reminders
- Motivation and encouragement to follow through with the doctor’s recommended fitness program
- Transportation to follow-up appointments
- Picking up medications and running errands
- And so much more