Coronary Angioplasty Helps Treat Coronary Heart Disease - Manipal Hospitals
How to Treat Heart Disease
Heart disease causes more deaths in the United States each year than any other medical condition. While there is no cure for heart disease, there are many methods available for managing its symptoms. Whether you change your lifestyle, take medication, or opt for surgery, taking control of your heart health is an important step in fighting your heart disease.
Using Medical Interventions to Treat Heart Disease
Work with a doctor to develop a treatment plan.Your doctor will familiarize themselves with your specific condition, symptoms, and genetic background to develop a plan suited to your situation. Usually, a doctor will employ medication, testing, invasive procedure, and/or surgery in addition to prescribing lifestyle changes to an individual diagnosed with heart disease.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions of your doctor about your treatment. Ask for info on success rates and important factors which may have brought on your heart disease. Additionally, ask questions about financial matters like the cost of surgery, medication, or other treatment plans.
- With your doctor's help, set benchmarks for yourself to monitor your treatment. For instance, you might aim for progressively lower blood pressure each month until you attain a healthy blood pressure.
Consider medication.Sometimes simple lifestyle changes are not sufficient to treat heart disease. Medication is an effective way to treat many types of heart disease symptoms. Drugs can treat elevated blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, heart attacks, strokes, and heart valve problems.
- Beta-blockers decrease heart rate and lighten the workload on your heart. They are useful for treating both arrhythmia and high blood pressure. Calcium-channel blockers are useful for treating high blood pressure and arrhythmia.
- Anticoagulants are also useful for treating individuals with heart disease because they make the blood thinner, thereby allowing it to flow more easily throughout the body. While anticoagulants do not break up existing clots, they can help prevent future strokes.
- Always take your medication exactly as prescribed. Never stop taking a heart medication without consulting your doctor first, since this may exacerbate your condition.
- Most of the medications have side effects. Familiarize yourself with the potential side effects of the drug you use to treat your heart disease and alert your physician immediately if you experience any. Anti-arrhythmic drugs, in particular, can have serious side effects, so take care to use them exactly as prescribed and ask your doctor if you have any questions about them.
- Check with a physician before taking additional medication or supplements — even over-the-counter meds — since some of these substances can interact unfavorably with heart disease medications.
Get a pacemaker if necessary.A pacemaker is a small device inserted in your heart which corrects heart block, arrhythmia and, in some cases, congestive heart failure and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.Before getting a pacemaker, ask your doctor what your maximum acceptable heart rate above your pacemaker’s rate is. Find out the programmed upper and lower heart rate the pacemaker will pump at.Monitor your heart rate as often as your doctor recommends, and keep a record of your heart rate to ensure your pacemaker is operating properly.
- Do not eat or drink anything before getting your pacemaker installed.
- If you detect a major down-tick in your heart rate, contact your doctor immediately. Your pacemaker’s batteries may need to be replaced, or your pacemaker may be defective.
- Avoid putting pressure on the area of your chest where your pacemaker was implanted.
Get an angioplasty and/or stent if necessary.There are several kinds of angioplasty, but all are useful procedures which open blocked arteries in your heart.Your angioplasty may involve the use of stents, small tubes which are used to open the arteries of the heart, thereby reducing likelihood of heart disease symptoms like chest pain or heart attacks.
- Do not eat or drink the night before your angioplasty.
- Angioplasty usually takes one to three hours, but the recovery period might require you to stay overnight in the hospital.
- Let your doctor know if you are taking any other medications or drugs before getting an angioplasty.
- Take aspirin and relaxation medication (provided by the doctor) before getting your angioplasty.
Talk to your doctor about getting a heart bypass if necessary.Heart bypass surgery, or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), can help relieve your heart disease symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath.A surgeon will reroute your blood around the blocked artery or arteries in order to help your heart get the blood it needs.
- The whole procedure takes three to six hours; full recovery may take up to two months; you’ll need to remain under the doctor’s care in the hospital for three to five days.
Consider having a heart transplant.If your heart is severely damaged or medicine and other procedures have not worked well to treat your heart disease, you may require a heart transplant.A heart transplant involves swapping out your entire heart for another. Heart transplants are usually successful, and new research has made the mortality rate during heart transplants drop to just 1%.You might get either orthotopic or a heterotopic transplant.
- A orthotopic transplant is the most common form of heart transplant. Your heart will be removed entirely and a new heart provided by a donor will be inserted into your chest.
- A heterotopic transplant — also called a piggyback transplant — leaves your heart in place but adds a second heart to the right side of your chest. This option is useful because it makes the new heart act as a backup when certain complications arise.
- Your doctor will inform you as to which transplant option is best.
- Recovery times vary from patient to patient and case to case.
Eat a healthy diet.Healthy meals and snacks can help reduce your intake of saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol, all of which lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Try to replace processed and junk foods like soda, cookies, and chips with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and foods high in fiber.
- Replace whole fat or 2% milk with skim. If you’re trying to get more calcium in your diet, think about eating oranges, edamame, or figs instead of dairy.
- Replace fatty, greasy meat and fries with baked or grilled versions. For instance, instead of fried chicken, try baked or grilled chicken. However its best to avoid non vegetarian foods. Instead of fried potatoes, bake or grill them.
- High sugar intake can lead to diabetes, which in turn increases your risk of heart disease.Reduce your sugar intake by limiting your consumption of pies, candy, sugary drinks, and sweet goods. Choose artificial sweeteners when available for coffee and tea.
- Talk to your physician about dietary changes that could be beneficial to you.
Avoid eating meat.Meat is high in saturated fat and carnitine, a protein which thickens the artery walls. Red meat is especially high in carnitine, though it is present in other meats like fish and chicken as well. Eating another protein such as beans, tofu, or nuts at an appropriate level can provide you with all the protein you need.
- Begin eliminating meat from your diet by going one day without meat. Many people now enjoy a “Meatless Monday.” If you find you have no trouble reducing your meat consumption by one day per week, move on to removing it from your meals two days per week. When you are comfortable, continue to reduce your meat intake until you are at or below the recommended daily allotment for your age and weight.
- Processed meats — those which have undergone freezing, curing, grinding, or mixing, or those which include additives — are especially dangerous to heart health.Hot dogs, bacon, and salami are therefore best avoided to reduce heart disease.
Get active.Being overweight can put you at increased risk for heart disease. In addition to eating a good diet, you should stay active and incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Walk or ride your bike instead of driving. Take the stairs instead of elevator. Remember, every bit of exercise counts.
- In addition to daily physical activity, make time to work out. Aim for about an hour of exercise each day.Alternate between vigorous workouts (like sprinting or pedaling your bike as fast as possible) and moderate-intensity workouts (such as lifting weights or jogging at a brisk pace).
- Calculate your body mass index (BMI) in order to determine if you are overweight. Use the CDC’s BMI calculator () to determine if you are within a healthy weight.
Stay focused when losing weight.Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease. Losing weight involves adjusting your diet and exercising, but you will need to stay on target to make your treatment last.
- Be realistic when losing weight. adjusting your diet. Coupled with regular exercise, you should be able to lose one or two pounds each week.Ask your doctor what a healthy weight-loss plan for someone of your age, sex, height, and weight looks like.
- Gain support from family and friends. Let them know that you are trying to reduce your risk of heart disease. We are less likely to veer from the course we have decided on when we share our goals with others.
- Avoid spending time with people who put you down or discourage you from treating your heart disease. If you know someone who thinks your heart disease is not a serious issue, or discourages you from changing your current unhealthy weight and eating habits, tell them that you value your health too much not to. For instance, if someone tells you, “You will have a hard time not eating potato chips,” you might reply that it might be hard, but no matter how hard it is, reducing your risk of heart disease is worth it.
Developing Healthy Habits
Get eight hours of sleep each night.While there are many obvious complications which follow accompany a lack of sleep – fatigue, irritability, depression – there are also even more serious threats to your heart’s health. Getting enough sleep can reduce your risk of heart disease. While individual sleep requirements vary, you should always aim for about eight hours per night.
- If you’re having trouble sleeping, try turning off the television and computer at least three hours before you go to bed. The light from these devices can interrupt your natural inclination to sleep at night.
- Set a regular bedtime for yourself to make it easier to fall asleep each night. When your body gets used to the bedtime rhythm, you will more easily fall asleep at the bedtime you’ve selected.
Reduce stress in your life.While stress is not known to be a direct risk factor or cause of heart disease, it has been linked to unhealthy coping mechanisms which are known to increase risk for heart disease like smoking, drinking, and consuming unhealthy foods. In order to avoid these activities, it is best to reduce the stress which could lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
- Learn to laugh.There is an old saying that “Laughter is the best medicine,” and when it comes to heart health, that’s certainly the case. Individuals who laugh often are 40% less likely to develop heart disease than people who laugh infrequently. Laughter reduces artery inflammation and increases your HDL (“good cholesterol”). Watch funny movies with a friend or learn some humorous jokes you can share with someone close to you.
- Manage your time so that you are not rushed when trying to finish homework or projects at work. For instance, if you have an exam in five days, don’t wait until the night before to start cramming what you need to know. Study diligently for a few hours each day until the test day. Use a calendar to schedule time specifically intended for studying.
- Try de-stressing techniques like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and regular exercise. Make time for yourself by sitting in a quiet place reading or listening to pleasant music, even if you only have time to do so for 20 to 30 minutes each day.
- Find ways to show gratitude and focus on positive experiences. Spend time with people you care about and who care about you. Let them know you appreciate their company and are thankful they are in your life. Don’t dwell on hurtful or false comments made by negative people.
- Be generous with your time and energy. Give back to your community through volunteering at your local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or food bank. Doing good feels good.
Quit smoking.If you are a smoker, you are twice as likely to have a heart disease as people who have never smoked.While quitting is never easy, staying healthy is worth it. Make use of nicotine patches or gum to ease your cigarette cravings.
- Don’t replace smoking with another unhealthy habit like another drug or alcohol.
- Choose when to quit smoking. You don’t have to quit cold-turkey. Make a timeline in order to plan how you quit. For example, you might plan on cutting down to half a pack each day for two weeks, then cut back to 1/4 pack each day for the next two weeks, and so on, reducing your intake by half every two weeks.
- Avoid second-hand smoke as well. If you live with others who smoke, try to find alternate lodging. Avoid social situations in bars or restaurants where smoking occurs. Invite your friends to engage in activities where smoking is difficult or impossible such as going to the movies, or playing baseball.
Reduce your alcohol intake.Excessive alcohol consumption (more than a glass of beer or wine a day) can raise your blood pressure and triglyceride level, increasing your risk of heart disease. If you choose to continue drinking, do it in moderation. While a glass of wine each day could lower your risk of heart disease, it’s best to avoid drinking altogether if you do not drink currently.
- If you’re in the habit of imbibing regularly at dinner or after work, try to substitute your alcohol with a healthy alternative like water or iced tea.
Confront depression.If you have depression, you can be at greater risk for heart disease. Depression is an enduring state of feeling worried, pessimistic, guilty, sad, worthless, agitated, or suicidal. Seek medical care immediately if you have depressive thoughts. You should consult your general practitioner as well as a good therapist in order to work through your specific symptoms and develop a more hopeful, positive outlook. In addition, depression can be managed through prescription drugs which your psychiatrist might prescribe.
QuestionI'm 12, is it normal if I have a heart disease?
Cardiothoracic SurgeonCardiothoracic SurgeonExpert AnswerChildren as well as adults can have heart disease. Usually in children, heart disease is inherited rather than acquired from the way they live.Thanks!
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