Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (disease of the heart or blood vessels) is the number one cause of death in the United States. Cardiovascular disease can refer to several conditions including heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia, and heart valve problems.

No matter what form of cardiovascular disease you may have, knowing the facts and working with your doctor to develop and adjust a treatment plan are key to managing your condition.

Take Action

Understanding your condition and how to manage it can help you make the necessary changes to improve and maintain your health. Use this action plan to help get you started and work your doctor to complete it together at your next visit.

Here are some things you can do to manage cardiovascular disease and promote your overall health.

The goal of treatment when you have a cardiovascular disease is to relieve symptoms, reduce the risk of the condition or disease recurring or getting worse, and to prevent complications. Depending on what your health looks like and what your specific goals are there are three key approaches to treating heart disease. Talk to your doctor to see which are best for you.

Make small lifestyle changes. Developing and maintaining good habits are key to helping you treat heart disease. The best way to work them into your life is by making small changes that slowly become part of your routine. Here are some things you can do to get started:

  • Skip the elevator and take the stairs when you can.
  • Go for a walk in the park in the morning or after dinner with your family or friends.
  • Replace soft drinks, fruit juices, and sports drinks with water, low-fat milk, or sugar-free drinks.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast every day.

Take your medicine. Your doctor may prescribe you different medicines to help you manage your risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, prediabetes, and diabetes.

Talk to your doctor about surgery. There are several types of surgeries available for treating a cardiovascular disease. While a cardiovascular disease does not always require surgery, talk to your doctor about which, if any, of these surgeries might be good for you.

Several health conditions, your lifestyle, your age, and family history play a big role in your risk for heart disease. Your lifestyle is not only your best defense against heart disease and stroke, but it’s also something you can change. Here are some things you can do:

Aim for a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk of developing heart disease. If you’re overweight, losing just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight can make a big difference.

Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can also help manage your risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends you get 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise five days a week. Try including more walking into your daily routine or take advantage of our free Neighborhood Care virtual classes.

Eat a heart-healthy diet. It’s important to fuel your body with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fish. Fish are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. You should also aim to limit your salt intake each day. Talk to your doctor for help with incorporating nutritional meals into your diet.

Quit smoking. If you smoke, try to quit. If someone in your household smokes, you should also encourage them to quit. If you or your loved ones need help quitting, they can get help from the EmblemHealth Tobacco-Free Quit-Smoking program.

Take your medicine. Your doctor may prescribe medicines like statins and aspirin as part of your daily routine. They can help you lower your cholesterol, which can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Having a cardiovascular disease or being diagnosed with one is never easy. You may be feeling alone, scared, or even depressed about your condition. These feelings are common. You don't have to go through this by yourself.

Your emotions can play a role in how well you manage your condition and can cause future complications, so it's important to understand what you’re feeling and get help when you need it. Learn more about things you can do to cope with the emotions you may be feeling due to your condition.

It might be helpful to talk with a mental health professional or others with a cardiovascular disease who understand how you feel. Your doctor can recommend a mental health professional for you and may know of a local support group as well.

Learn more about heart disease and mental health.

It can feel very difficult to speak about your condition with your family and friends. While there is no right or wrong way to start this kind of conversation, it’s important that you do what feels right for you. Talking about your condition can help you feel better, emotionally. Here are a few tips you can incorporate:

  • Share the information you want to share. You don’t have to talk about everything at once. Start with the things that are more important and revisit the conversation later if you need to.
  • Share the facts. Your loved ones might know how common cardiovascular diseases are. Having some stats can help them understand what you’re going through.
  • Share what you need. Tell your friends and family how they can help you manage your condition. You are not alone, and they may be able to support you in many ways.

Cardiovascular Disease

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