During National Heart Month, there are two important ways you can show your heart some love: learn how to keep your heart healthy, and understand how to best recuperate if you do face the need for cardiac surgery.
Look After Your Heart
These simple steps will help maintain heart health by keeping cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check – two key risk factors for cardiovascular illnesses, heart attack, and stroke.
- Alter your eating habits. We really are what we eat. Replace foods that are full of saturated or trans-fat, salt, and sugar with healthier options such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean meats like poultry and fish, beans and lentils, and low-fat dairy products.
- Reduce your weight. For someone who is too heavy, dropping as little as 5% of total body weight can make an impact on blood pressure levels. Incorporating the recommended amount of aerobic workout (thirty minutes most days of the week) is an effective way to make this happen while strengthening the heart. Be sure to talk to your doctor first, and begin 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, especially in the middle of a pandemic, is extremely stressful. Make time for yourself every day for at least 15 minutes to take part in soothing activities you take pleasure in: reading, listening to music, going on a walk, chatting with friends, prayer or meditation.
- Visit the doctor on a regular basis. At least once a year, arrange for a checkup to ensure that any new ailments can be caught and addressed early, and any existing conditions can be kept under control.
If You Have Experienced Cardiovascular Problems…
Recovering from a heart attack or cardiac surgery can be a complicated process, sometimes taking weeks or even months. During this period, you may have:
- Chest pain
- Depression or moodiness
- Changes in appetite
- Swelling, numbness, tingling, or itchiness at the incision site
- Trouble with sleeping
- Difficulty breathing
- Short-term loss of memory or confusion
- Weakness and lack of energy
One of the best ways to ease this healing period is to work with a home care professional, such as Absolute Companion Care, a trusted provider of home care in Sparks, MD and the surrounding areas. Doctors typically recommend having someone in the home for at least the first few weeks of recovery from cardiac surgery. Our caregivers are fully trained and experienced in watching for changes in condition and reporting them right away, along with providing valuable help in a variety of ways, such as:
- Assistance with safely bathing and showering and getting dressed
- Companionship to engage in conversations and activities to brighten each day
- Meal planning and preparation
- Housekeeping and laundry
- Medication reminders
- Motivation and encouragement to adhere to the doctor’s recommended fitness program
- Transportation to follow-up appointments
- Picking up prescription medications and running other errands
- And much more