During National Heart Month, there are two important ways you can give your heart some love: learn how to maintain heart health, and discover how to best recuperate if you experience heart issues.
Care for Your Heart
These simple steps will help maintain heart fitness by keeping cholesterol and blood pressure levels under control – two principal risk factors for cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.
- Improve your diet. We truly are what we eat. Replace foods that are abundant in saturated or trans-fat, salt, and sugar with healthier choices like fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats such as poultry and fish, lentils and beans, and low-fat dairy products.
- Lower your weight. For someone who is too heavy, dropping even as little as 5% of total body weight can make a positive change in blood pressure levels. Incorporating the recommended amount of aerobic exercise (half an hour most days of the week) is a good way to do this while strengthening the heart. Before starting an exercise program, be sure to talk with the physician first, and start off slowly, working your way up with time.
- Refrain from smoking cigarettes and secondhand smoke. Quit – or avoid starting – smoking. But be advised that even secondhand smoke can harm the heart.
- Limit stress. Life, especially in the midst of a pandemic, is quite stressful. Take time for yourself every day for at the least 15 minutes to engage in soothing activities you enjoy: reading a good book, listening to music, going for a walk, talking with a good friend, prayer or meditation.
See your physician on a regular basis. At least once a year, schedule a checkup to make certain that any new conditions can be identified and addressed early, and any existing issues can be kept in order.
If You Have Experienced a Heart Attack…
Recovering from cardiac arrest or surgical procedure can be a complex process, usually taking weeks or even months. During this time, you might have:
- Chest pain
- Depression or moodiness
- Appetite changes
- Swelling, numbness, tingling, or itchiness around the incision site
- Trouble with sleeping
- Difficulty breathing
- Short-term loss of memory or confusion
- Weakness and fatigue
One of the best ways to ease this healing period is to work with a home care professional, like Inspired Home Care’s Algonquin caregivers. Doctors typically suggest having someone in the home for at least the initial few weeks of recovery from heart surgery. Our care providers are fully trained and experienced in monitoring changes in condition and reporting them immediately, along with providing crucial help in many different ways, such as:
- Help with safely bathing and showering and getting dressed
- Companionship to take part in conversations and activities to brighten each day
- Meal planning and preparation
- Housekeeping and washing clothes
- 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 errands
- And so much more
Want more tips on how to maintain heart health? Reach out to us at 847-787-7572 after (or ideally, before) heart surgery and let us help make the recovery process as easy and comfortable as possible. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.