Readjusting to everyday life can be tough for heart disease patients. You wonder about everything: Should I eat this food? Can I do that activity? Can my body deal with the stress? The fact is heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute!
If you just recovered from a heart attack or a stroke, or you were just diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, you might still be in shock. You might feel fearful and uncertain of the future. There are 4 steps you can take to ensure you live a healthier life.
Step 1 Reduce your blood pressure by lowering your salt intake, and by eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, beans and low-fat dairy products. Over time, high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or permanently damage your heart vessels and arteries. Lowering your blood pressure can therefore help to reverse the effects of heart disease.
Step 2 Keep your weight under control. Being overweight or obese can lead to a number of heart diseases by causing a buildup of plaque in your arteries. Eventually, an area of plaque can rupture, causing a blood clot to form. Reduce the number of calories you consume each day and increase your exercise, especially cardiovascular training activities to overcome your heart disease.
Step 3 Take the medications prescribed by your doctor in order to overcome side effects of heart disease. It’s difficult to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise if you don’t feel well enough. Oftentimes, medications, such as beta-blockers, cholesterol-reducing medicine, or blood thinners, are taken only temporarily while you change your lifestyle.
Step 4 Stay clean and practice safe hygiene, including dental hygiene, to avoid getting infections that could exacerbate your heart disease. Wash your hands regularly to prevent viral and bacterial infections, and do your best to avoid sick people while you’re overcoming your own illness.