How much will heart disease treatment help me?

By: Elizabeth Scherer

The proper treatment for coronary heart disease will:

  • enable you to live a more active, fulfilling life
  • help you control risk factors for CHD, such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking
  • lower your risk for irregular heartbeats, called arrhythmias
  • lower your risk for heart attack and sudden cardiac death
  • lower your risk for valve disease
  • reduce the disabling effects of angina

You may have heard that CHD cannot be cured. You may also have heard that taking care of your heart once you have CHD requires a lifelong commitment. Both of those statements are true. But keep in mind that, with the proper treatment, almost everyone can slow down the progression of the disease. Also, the proper treatment can help your heart get the blood and oxygen it needs. That will make it possible for you to do more of the things you want to do.


How can I get the most from my treatment?

For your treatment to really help you, you can't depend on doctors and medicines alone. You certainly need to work with your doctor and take all your medicines as prescribed. But to effectively treat your heart disease, you have to make efforts each day to adopt habits that are good for the health of your heart. Those habits can help prevent CHD from getting worse by helping your heart get what it needs. Without effort from you, your treatment can't be completely effective. The rewards of your persistence are many. Put simply, you can expect to feel better and to live a more fulfilling life.

Here's what you should do and why.

  • Make healthy choices. Changes such as losing weight and quitting smoking will reduce your risk for many diseases. For instance, being overweight is a major risk factor for diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure. Even if you already have CHD, you can still have benefits and can help prevent further complications by losing weight. Smoking can cause problems with your heart, but that's not all. It also causes multiple kinds of cancer, emphysema, and other serious health problems. Other changes in your daily life can make it easier to achieve your treatment goals. For example, becoming more active or reducing the amount of alcohol you drink may help you to control your blood pressure and maintain an ideal weight.
  • Change your diet and take your prescribed medicines to lower cholesterol. This will help you control your heart disease. It may also reduce your risk of having a stroke .
  • Control your blood pressure by following your treatment plan. This is the best way to lower your risk of having a stroke and to help control your risk for other conditions. This includes problems with your eyes and kidneys.
  • Become more physically active, with your doctor's supervision. This will help strengthen your heart. At the same time, it will also strengthen your muscles and bones. That can protect you from injuries and diseases such as osteoporosis. It will also help you achieve and maintain an ideal weight.

Will the benefits of treatment be long-term?

Stay with your treatment plan and keep making healthy choices. It requires effort each day to reduce your risk of heart attack, irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death. It's also important to stay with your treatment plan to keep problems, such as angina, from becoming disabling. One of the best things about staying with your treatment plan is that it can improve your overall health.

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