Managing heart disease can improve quality of life

More than 82 million American adults are estimated to suffer from some form of heart disease, according to statistics from the American Heart Association. Damage to the heart that has developed over time can’t be cured. But it can be treated, quite often with strategies to improve symptoms.

As a cardiology intervention specialist, I want my patients to not just survive but thrive but that means they have to be willing to get involved in managing their condition. 

Take it to Heart Care List

take it to1. Take your medications every day as directed. If you are having problems with your medications, call your physician.

2. Restrict sodium. Keep in mind that 1,000-2,000 mg of sodium per day is the recommended daily allowance:

  • Remove the salt shaker from the table
  • Use foods low in sodium
  • Do not use salt substitute

3. Weigh yourself every morning after you use the bathroom and before you eat breakfast. Write it down.

4. Quit Smoking

5. Avoid Alcohol

6. Exercise Daily

Make sure you call your physician immediately if:

  • You have more difficulty breathing
  • You are getting more fatigues with normal activity
  • You gain more than two pounds over night or three pounds over a month
  • You are are more short of breath lying down or awaken at night short of breath
  • You have swelling of your feet or legs
  • You urinate less often during the day and more often at night
  • You have a bloated feeling or upset stomach
  • You have cramps in your legs
  • You have blurred vision or see yellow-green halos around objects or lights

And, be sure you should go to the emergency room if:

  • You have tightness or pain in your chest
  • You are extremely short of breath
  • You are coughing up pink-frothy mucus
  • You are traveling and develop symptoms of worsening heart failure seek medical attention immediately

Additional Resources

 Sneaky sodium: Check your foods for hidden salt

Want a heart-healthy diet? Incorporate these five foods.

Get more tips for a healthy heart.

Chest pains: Heart burn or heat attack?

By Dr. Guilherme V. Silva, assistant professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine

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