Heart disease is a general term that refers to any ailment that affects the heart. There are numerous varieties, several of which are avoidable.
Heart disease is the top cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Around 1 in every four deaths in the United States is caused by heart disease, affecting all genders and racial and ethnic groups.
Because the phrase “heart disease” refers to a broad spectrum of cardiac disorders, treatment entirely depends on the type of ailment you have. In general, lifestyle modifications such as a heart-healthy diet, smoking cessation, physical activity, and keeping a healthy weight are recommended.
Prescriptions, treatments, or surgery may also be necessary, depending on the type and severity of your ailment. For example, atherosclerotic disease, cardiac arrhythmias, heart valve disease, heart infections, and heart failure are only a few primary kinds of heart disease.
Types of Objective
Treatment aims vary according to the type of heart disease you have and the severity of your case.
Coronary artery disease, carotid artery disease, and peripheral artery disease are all atherosclerotic diseases. Treatment aims to alleviate symptoms, avert a heart attack, and reduce or halt the progression of your condition.
Treatment for arrhythmia may not be necessary unless it is causing problems or may result in a more severe arrhythmia or complications. In these instances, treatment will focus on heart rate regulation.
The disease of the Heart Valve
Your treatment aims with heart valve disease will be to protect your heart from further damage, manage your symptoms, and maybe correct any valve abnormalities surgically.
Infections of the Heart
When you have a heart infection, such as endocarditis, pericarditis, or myocarditis, the primary goal of treatment is to eradicate the infection and inflammation in your heart, as well as any associated symptoms.
Failure of the Heart
While treating heart failure involves a lifetime commitment, it can help you live a longer, higher-quality life. The objective is to alleviate your symptoms as possible while balancing drugs and other treatment choices.
Natural Remedies and a Healthy Lifestyle
Regardless of the type of heart disease you have, your healthcare professional will certainly recommend lifestyle adjustments to help manage your symptoms and protect your condition from worsening.
Cessation of Smoking
Quitting smoking is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your heart health. However, smoking can exacerbate heart and blood vessel damage and lead to heart arrhythmias and hypertension. Consult your healthcare practitioner about a program that will assist you with quitting.
There cannot be enough emphasis placed on maintaining an active lifestyle for heart health. Not only does it help maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but it also helps manage diabetes and prevents excessive weight gain—all of which are risk factors for developing or worsening heart disease.
If you have a heart arrhythmia or a congenital heart abnormality, you should discuss any potential exercise restrictions with your healthcare physician before beginning a program. In general, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity on most days.
A Diet That Is Cardiovascular-Friendly
A heart-healthy diet contains a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and monounsaturated fats (such as olive or canola oil) while avoiding high-fat meats and processed meals.
Reducing your weight to a healthy level will help avoid the progression of your heart disease. Consult your healthcare practitioner to determine an appropriate range for you and your body type. Aim for a body mass index (BMI) of 24 or less in general.
Management of Stress
Allow no tension to accumulate in your life. Make sure you schedule time for yourself and have go-to relaxing techniques on hand. Stress management techniques such as meditation, exercise, yoga, journaling, drawing, knitting, muscle relaxation, and deep breathing are effective.
If you have heart problems, you must exercise extra caution around contagious persons. Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands, brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, and speak with your healthcare practitioner about flu and pneumonia vaccinations to help you stay healthy.
Continue to Provide Follow-Up Care
Take all medications as prescribed, attend all follow-up appointments, and adhere to your treatment plan. Consult your healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns.
Treatment regimens frequently include numerous options, so if one does not work for you, your healthcare professional may be able to discover another. Maintaining regular contact with your healthcare practitioner also enables them to detect changes in your condition and take appropriate action before it spirals out of control.
If you have diabetes, you must manage it properly. Diabetes that is not appropriately managed can exacerbate heart disease and cause additional issues. Inform your healthcare provider of your compliance with your treatment to develop the best strategy for you.
Numerous pharmaceuticals can assist in the treatment of heart ailments. Among the primary options are the following:
- Anticoagulants, alternatively referred to as blood thinners, help avoid clots. Warfarin (Coumadin) and the direct oral anticoagulants dabigatran, rivaroxaban, and apixaban are some of them.
- Antiplatelet therapies, such as aspirin can also help prevent clots.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors: These can aid in the treatment of heart failure and hypertension by expanding the blood arteries. Lisinopril is one such medication.
- Additionally, angiotensin II receptor blockers can help manage blood pressure. Losartan is one such medication.
- Inhibitors of the angiotensin receptor neprilysin: These can assist in unloading the heart and stop the molecular pathways that cause it to weaken.
- Metoprolol and other beta-blockers can help to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure. Additionally, they can be used to treat arrhythmias and angina.
- Calcium channel blockers: These medications can help reduce blood pressure and prevent arrhythmias by weakening the heart’s pumping action and relaxing the blood vessels. Diltiazem is one such medication (Cardizem).
- Cholesterol-reducing pharmaceuticals: Statins, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), and other types of medications can assist in lowering the body’s low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
- Digitalis: Digoxin (Lanoxin) and similar preparations strengthen the heart’s pumping action. Additionally, they can aid in the treatment of heart failure and arrhythmias.
- Diuretics: These drugs can lessen the heart’s workload, lower blood pressure, and help the body eliminate extra water. Furosemide (Lasix) is one such medication.
- Vasodilators are blood pressure-lowering medicines. They accomplish this by constricting the blood vessels. One such substance is nitroglycerin (Nitrostat). Additionally, some drugs can assist in alleviating chest pain. Learn more about vasodilation by visiting this page.
- A physician will collaborate with the patient to choose the best course of action.
- Occasionally, adverse effects arise. The pharmaceutical regimen may need to be reviewed if this is the case.
When drugs are ineffective at treating blockages and heart issues, heart surgery may be necessary.
Several popular surgical procedures
Among the reputable sources are the following:
- Coronary artery bypass surgery: This procedure restores blood flow to a portion of the heart that an artery has obstructed. Coronary artery bypass grafting is the most frequently performed procedure. A surgeon can repair a blocked blood vessel using a healthy blood vessel from another part of the body.
- Coronary angiography: This process enlarges the coronary arteries that are too thin or obstructed. It is frequently performed in conjunction with installing a stent, a wire-mesh tube that facilitates blood flow.
- A surgeon can replace or repair a valve that is not functioning correctly.
- A surgeon can correct congenital cardiac abnormalities, aneurysms, and other issues.
- Pacemakers, balloon catheters, and other devices can assist in regulating the heartbeat and promoting blood flow.
- Transmyocardial laser revascularization may be used to treat angina.
- Maze surgery: A surgeon can reroute electrical signals. This may aid in the treatment of atrial fibrillation.
Specific lifestyle changes can help minimize your risk of developing heart disease. These include the following:
- Consume a balanced diet: Choose a heart-healthy diet high in fiber that emphasizes whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. The Mediterranean and DASH diets may both be beneficial for heart health. Additionally, limiting processed foods and adding fat, salt, and sugar may benefit.
- Regular exercise can strengthen the heart and circulatory system, lower cholesterol, and maintain blood pressure. A person may desire to set a weekly goal of 150 minutes of exercise.
- Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI): A healthy BMI is generally between 20 and 25. Individuals can check their BMI on this website.
- Smoking cessation or avoidance: Smoking is a significant risk factor for heart and cardiovascular disease.
- Limiting alcohol consumption: Women should limit themselves to one standard drink per day, while males should limit to two standard drinks per day.
- Managing underlying conditions: Seek therapy for heart-related disorders like hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.
- You can improve your general health and decrease your risk of developing heart disease and its complications by taking these steps.