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Posted on in Heart Health

Heart Issues and Solutions Treatment Options for Cardiac Problems

Heart disease and cardiovascular conditions can be treated in numerous ways, depending on the seriousness of the condition and the patient’s history or other medical problems.

Prevention. If you are reading this, it may already be too late to think about preventing your heart disease. However, many diagnosed heart issues can be treated successfully with the lifestyle changes listed below. If you don’t have a heart problem, following the lifestyle recommendations can prevent or delay serious heart issues for you.

Lifestyle Changes. There’s no secret to changing the way your life impacts your heart. As Nike would put it, “Just do it.” And here are a few things to do:

  • Quit smoking and using ALL tobacco products. Consider joining a support group or checking with your hospital for smoking cessation programs.

  • Eat a healthy diet. Avoid too much salt or food and drinks with added sugar, such as sodas. Eat whole grains in bread, pasta and other foods with dough.   Avoid pizza, popcorn, snack foods and baked goods. They are likely to contain saturated fats and trans fatty acids – the “bad” fats.  

  • Be Physically Active. You don’t have to run 26-mile marathons.  Simply, take the steps instead of an elevator. Take a walk every day. As little as 60-minutes of moderate exercise per day can produce positive results for your heart.

  • Find a Healthy Weight…and keep it. Eating right and exercising regularly will help you maintain a healthy weight. A quick calculator of healthy weight is the Body Mass Index (BMI). There are many online BMI calculators.Generally, a BMI under 25 and a waist size of 35 inches or less is a good goal to prevent heart problems.

"Walking is one of the easiest and most efficient activities to include as part of a simple program to improve heart health," says McLeod Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Evans P Holland. "Walking also has many proven health benefits. It is one of the best cardiovascular exercises that can be performed. It is safe, inexpensive, accessible and a fun activity to do with family and friends.

"Adults may gain as much as two hours of life expectancy for each hour of regular, vigorous exercise even if they do not begin exercising until middle age, according to the American Heart Association. And it is always a good idea to consult your physician before beginning an exercise program."

If your doctor doesn’t think the lifestyle adjustments are working or you are in the early stages of cardiovascular disease, he or she may add medication to your treatment plan.

Medications. Different medications can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, prevent blood clots or help reduce fluid build up. All of this reduces stress on the heart.

Angioplasty. This procedure comes in many forms and variations – Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, Balloon or Stents and Atherectomy to name a few. In each case, a wire is advanced across a blocked artery, and then a balloon is inserted. The balloon compresses the plaque and then a stent is usually placed to keep the artery open.

Surgery. If arteries cannot be opened or cleared, the patient may need coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG pronounced “cabbage”). Depending on the number of blood vessels that are blocked, the surgeon will take arteries or grafts from other parts of the body, typically the arms or the legs, and use them to reroute the blood.

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Sources include: McLeod Health; National Institutes of Health: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; Heart and Stroke Foundation, American Heart Association

 

The information on this site is intended to increase your awareness and understanding of specific health issues and
services at McLeod Health. It should not be used for diagnosis or as a substitute for health care by your physician.
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