Heart Disease is fast becoming the “Most Common Disease” for this Century. Living the Best Life Possible with Heart Disease is more than just taking medication. It is scary, emotional and can be debilitating if you do not know how to best support your heart in becoming as healthy and strong as possible.
In this article I am going to share with you from both personal and professional experience – How to Live the Best Life Possible after being diagnosed with Heart Disease
Diagnosis and Beyond
If you are reading this you have suffered from a Heart Event, now being diagnosed with Heart Disease. This doesn’t have to mean the end of your world. It just means that you have been diagnosed with a condition that will mean taking charge of your lifestyle, lifestyle habits, learning new ways of thinking. Learning to live with a chronic disease (a condition that has taken a long time to progress and disease meaning causing disharmony within your body. The importance here is to regain as much harmony as possible back into your body for your heart to function as efficiently as possible.
You may well in your diagnostic process also hear the term heart failure. This is both an “unfortunate and inaccurate term”, says Lynne Warner Stevenson who is the director of cardiomyopathy and the heart program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The term usually means that the heart is handicapped, therefore unable to function. This is not true because your heart is still functioning.
No-one will ever tell you that heart disease is not serious and something that needs to be considered so. In order to put necessary changes into place to assist your heart to recover.
Going through all of the health processes, specialist, surgery and procedures you will fell as if your life has almost been taken from you, you all of a sudden are facing an uncertainty that are you even going to make it through the next hour or the next day. Something that you may well have never been faced with before.
You will have feelings of isolation from yourself, your loved ones and the people around you. You will feel needy, scarred and vulnerable. The importance here is to not isolate yourself or become needy, but to realize that you can go on to live a productive, fulfilling and purposeful life.
Do Not Become your Disease
It can become so easy if you are not made aware to get all wrapped up in your condition and your struggle, even with the thought of becoming well once again. That you will alienate people from you, the people that you will want around you. Notice I said want and not need. When you become needy this gives you a sense of helplessness and vulnerability. Not empowering to your condition at all. When it becomes a realization that you want these people around you because you want to share in their life and have them share your life. Then this is empowering for you and with huge benefits to you becoming well.
Remaining Positive and having a Positive outlook is the major key to your success of becoming well and learning to live positively with your condition. Surround yourself with people who will not allow you to allow your condition to become you, just a part of who you are.
Signs to Watch For If Your Heart Is Struggling
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath – When your heart can’t properly fill and empty, blood backs up in your veins. This causes fluid to leak into your lungs. Your doctor may call it pulmonary edema. This can make it hard to breathe during activities, rest, or even sleep. You may be woken up by sudden breathlessness. Maybe you’ll need to prop yourself up with extra pillows to breathe easier. This constant search for air can leave you tired and anxious.
- Fatigue – When your heart isn’t pumping right, the body starts to move blood from less vital parts like your arms and legs to the centres for survival — the heart and brain. This can leave you feeling exhausted after everyday activities.
- Persistent cough – An ongoing wheeze or cough that brings up white or slightly blood-colored mucus can be another symptom of fluid building up in your lungs. Call the doctor if you notice it.
- Weight gain or swelling – Just as fluid can build up in your lungs when the heart fails to properly pump blood, fluid can also increase in your tissues. This can be made worse by the fact that your kidneys get rid of sodium and water. As a result, your feet, ankles, legs, or belly may swell. This can cause shoes and socks to feel tight. It may also cause a seemingly sudden change in weight.
- Lack of appetite or nausea – Because blood is being moved away from your digestive system, your appetite may not be as big as it usually is. You might also feel a bit nauseous.
- Increased heart rate – When your heart struggles to pump the right amount of blood, it may speed up to make up for it. This can lead to palpitations, which could cause your heart to race or feel like its fluttering or throbbing.
- Confusion, trouble thinking – In the early stages of recovery after a heart procedure you may well suffer from these symptoms disorientation, confusion, or memory loss. However should these symptoms continue after a couple of months, don’t wait for the symptoms to become worse. Talk to your health professional so that you can either put some changes into place or receive the right care.
How to Manage your Heart Problems
- Engage an active and positive support team that are going to encourage you with implementing the necessary steps to keep your heart working well.
- Play an active role in your treatment, because that can improve your symptoms. It can also help you feel more in control of your condition, due to the damage your heart has undertaken over time.
- Ask Questions about your condition, the severity of it and how this will affect your daily living and lifestyle choices. Choose people to work with that are going to encourage you to follow through with healthy life changes and choices. Not to make you your illness, but to allow your illness to bring about positive changes for you with your health care.
- Learn to Take Charge of your Thinking: it has been shown that your thought processes have a significant effect on your physical health and wellbeing from a cellular level. Certain thought patterns and processes may have well planted themselves into your mind from previous experiences and these thought processes may not be serving you well. It is imperative for you to gain balanced thinking, enabling you to engage in thoughts that are going to serve you well. Especially when it comes to friendships and relationships.
- Engage with Positive Friendships: It is once again vitally important to release toxic relationships whereby people will drag you into their dilemmas and situations for which they are not taking responsibility for or making positive changes. To attract positive friendships it is important for you to remain positive.
- Find something that allows you to feel happy and valued: This may be something as simple as caring for a pet, caring for a garden, involving yourself in a group whom are doing something to improve their neighborhood or community.
- Be involved with your Family: Reap the benefits if you are fortunate to have family members who love and want you to be a part of their life, then enjoy this and be a participant.
- Monitor your Symptoms: This is a tricky one you don’t want to become obsessed about your health issues, nor do you want to become your health issue. But it is important to note any changes, of course any positive ones first – with the best heart rate monitors, etc. But also anything that may seem a little untoward and in doing this. What you may have done differently to bring this about or what have you done previously that helped.
- Important to take Note: if you are not able to shower, dress, take a walk or do light duties without becoming breathless or short of wind. This is important information to relay to your health specialist.
- Making Lifestyle Changes: Making small incremental changes with your day to day routines will make a huge difference in the long run.
- Don’t add salt or sugar to your food or drinks. To keep your sodium and salt consumption to a minimum eat the major part of your diet with Fresh raw food, no processed foods, meats, cakes, biscuits, chips etc. Dietary changes are vitally important to recovering effectively from a heart event. To incorporate a diet with the majority of foods being what is known as alkalizing forming foods. These will not only help your heart but also your other organs as well.
- Exercise: “Your heart is a muscle, so by doing physical activity, this will keep your heart strong, even or should I say especially if you have a heart condition. Having a heart condition doesn’t meant that you need to sit and become a couch potato, just the opposite, you need to get out there and get active. The best exercises to strengthen your heart is regular walks daily, swimming 2 – 3 times per week. Lifting lite weights above your head, to the sides 10 – 15 times each cycle per day. Bike riding, singing – improves lung capacity and is good for your heart and dancing. Just to name a few.
- Take Care of Yourself: This means get plenty of sleep preferably between the hours of 10.30 pm – 7 pm. Out of these hours isn’t necessarily beneficial to your health.
- Learn to Cope and manage stress: whether you like it or not. Stress is always going to be a factor of life, so learning how to best manage and cope with it is vital for your health. Learning to see the positives even in the negatives is the first place to start. Then only taking on board what is relevant for you, not to attempt to control or take charge of someone else’s stresses.
- Fluid consumption: Notice I have said fluid, but here I mean water. This is vital to both cleanse your body and to distribute the necessary vitamins and minerals needed throughout your body. Drink 8 – 10 glasses per day or 2 – 2 ½ litres. This may be more depending on your level of activity or heat of the day.
- Stick to your Plan: Whether that be in taking medications or if you have chosen to follow support through Naturopathic physician with herbal, homeopathic medicines and supplements. The importance here is to ensure you stick to the plan and take your treatment seriously and regularly. Otherwise you will not receive the benefits that you deserve.