You may have angina, or you may have already had a heart attack. Or perhaps you have no symptoms of heart disease. But tests have shown that you have some atherosclerosis in the blood vessels around your heart. No matter what level of symptoms you have, if you have coronary heart disease, also known as CHD, you will most likely need treatment for it for the rest of your life.
Goals of Treatment for CHD
One goal of treatment for CHD is to prevent the threat to your well-being from conditions such as:
- heart attack
- potential sudden cardiac death
Another goal is to manage the pain from your CHD that stops you from doing what you need and want to do. With the proper treatment and management, you can have a healthy and rewarding life.
Make a Lifetime Commitment to a Healthy Lifestyle
You need to keep in mind that there is no cure for CHD. But there are many things you can do to help prevent it from getting worse. Both treatment and management of your condition require a lifetime commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
Part of that commitment is to work closely with your healthcare team on an ongoing basis. Another is to continue taking any medicines your doctor prescribes. The best way to work with your healthcare team is to keep all your appointments with them. This way, you'll have the opportunity to discuss with them what actions you need to take. Talk with your team about your concerns. Keep them informed about how you feel and what your symptoms are.
Changes in Your Condition May Require Changes in Your Treatment Plan
CHD results from the effect atherosclerosis has on the blood vessels that supply blood to your heart. The blood carries oxygen and other nutrients that your heart needs. Over time, the nature of your CHD may change. Some people, for instance, may have a heart attack or even more than one heart attack. Some who have never had angina may start having this type of pain. Others may have problems with irregular heartbeats. Blood pressure can change. So can your levels of blood cholesterol.
As the nature of your CHD changes, so will your concerns. Your doctor may also recommend different types of treatment. Be sure to talk with your healthcare team about the necessary changes in your treatment plan. This will help you to understand if those changes are to your lifestyle or your medicine. Or you may even have a new need for special medical procedures.
To make recommendations and decisions about your treatment, your doctor will consider:
- how well your condition matches with various treatment options
- the extent of your CHD
- the type and severity of your symptoms
- your commitment to working closely with your healthcare team
- your current health status
- your progress with past treatments
Become an Active Participant in Your Treatment Plan
While that might not sound like a hard thing to do, it can be challenging. For instance, some people think that, just because they don't have symptoms, they don't need to do everything included in their treatment plan. That isn't so. CHD is a chronic condition that you may be aware of sometimes. Then other times you may feel as though you do not have it. But even when you don't have symptoms, you still need to follow your treatment plan. Your life depends on it.