Being told that you or a loved one has coronary artery disease (CAD) can be upsetting. But you're not alone. More people are living with CAD than ever before thanks to finding it early and better treatments.
Steps you can take to help prevent problems and feel better:
- Make heart-healthy choices every day. Simple changes can make a big difference.
- Find an exercise program that's right for you. Talk with your health care team about what type of physical activity is best, and how often you should be active.
- Take your medications as prescribed. Medications don't work the way they should if you don't take the right dose at the right time. Talk with your heart doctor and pharmacist if you don't know how to take your medications or what
their role is.
- Learn all you can about your condition. It will help you to ask the right questions, and know how to manage it.
- Ongoing care is important. Your heart team will want you to come in for routine visits and imaging tests to help track your condition. It's important to keep these appointments. Be prepared to talk about any changes in your health
or how you are feeling.
- Ask your family and friends to help you adopt – and keep up with – healthy habits. Think about ways to make it fun. For example, cooking a new, healthy meal together or planning get-togethers around activities such as
taking a nature hike, riding bikes or trying a new exercise class.
- Ask whether talking to a nutritionist or dietitian might be helpful. A nutritionist or dietitian can look at your eating patterns and map out a plan for making heart healthier choices, and also give tips on how to control portions
and how to prepare foods.
- Seek counseling or join a support group, especially if you feel depressed or anxious. Untreated depression or high stress is linked to worsening heart disease, including heart attacks.
- Find positive ways to cope with stress. Too much stress can be bad for the heart – and your overall health.
For more information, visit CardioSmart.org/HealthyLiving.