During National Heart Month, there are two important ways you can give your heart some love: understand how to maintain heart health, and know how home care support can help you recuperate if you’ve experienced issues with your heart.
Take Care of Your Heart
These basic steps can help maintain heart fitness by keeping cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check – two main risk factors for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
- Modify your eating habits. We really are what we eat. Substitute foods that are loaded with saturated or trans-fat, salt, and sugar with healthier options like veggies and fruits, whole grains, lean meats such as poultry and fish, beans and lentils, and low-fat dairy products.
- Lose weight. For somebody 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 (30 minutes most days of the week) is a great way to make this happen while strengthening your heart. Be sure to talk to your physician first, and start off slowly, working your way up over time.
- Refrain from smoking cigarettes and secondhand smoke. Quit – or avoid starting – smoking. But be advised that even secondhand smoke can damage the heart.
- Reduce stress. Life, especially in the middle of a pandemic, is quite demanding. Take time to yourself every day for at least 15 minutes to engage in comforting activities you enjoy: reading, listening to music, going for a walk, chatting with friends, prayer or meditation.
- Visit your doctor routinely. At least yearly, schedule a checkup to ensure that any new issues can be detected and attended to early, and any existing issues can be kept in order.
If You Have Experienced Heart Problems…
Recovering from cardiac arrest or surgery can be a complicated process, usually taking weeks if not months. During this period, you might have:
- Chest pain
- Depression or moodiness
- Appetite changes
- Itchiness, tingling, numbness, or swelling at the incision site
- Difficulty with sleeping
- Shortness of breath
- Short-term loss of memory or confusion
- Weakness and fatigue
One of the best ways to ease this healing period is to partner with a home care support professional, such as Compassionate Nursing Services, a provider of elderly care in Chesterfield, MO and the surrounding areas. Health care professionals commonly recommend having someone in the home for at least the initial few weeks of recovery from cardiac surgery. Our care providers are fully trained and experienced in watching for changes in condition and reporting them immediately, along with providing valuable assistance in many different ways, such as:
- Help with safely taking showers or baths and getting dressed
- Companionship to engage in conversations and activities to brighten each day
- Meal planning and preparation
- Housework and doing the laundry
- Medication reminders
- Motivation and encouragement to follow through with the doctor’s recommended fitness program
- Transportation to follow-up appointments
- Picking up prescription medications and running other errands
- And so much more