Medically Reviewed by Evans P. Holland, MD
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:
“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