Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. And many cases could have been avoided if patients had maintained a healthier lifestyle. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a heart-related condition your first move should be to clean up your lifestyle. Some changes that will provide significant benefits are quitting smoking and drinking alcohol, eating fewer processed foods and increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, and starting a routine of regular exercise. While these lifestyle changes may not completely reverse your heart conditions they will help you move into a healthier future.
There are several different categories of medications that your cardiologist might prescribe for you. Anticoagulants, also known as blood thinners, make it more difficult for your blood to clot. Antiplatelet Agents keep the blood platelets from sticking together which also keeps blood from clotting. Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors actually expand your blood vessels allowing your blood to flow more freely through your body. And Beta Blockers decrease your heart rate which in turn lowers your blood pressure. These are just a few of the medications that your cardiologist might prescribe (paired with a healthy lifestyle) to help treat the symptoms of your heart condition.
The variety of different types of heart surgeries are as numerous as the medications that your cardiologist might prescribe to you. For patients who suffer from blocked arteries, cardiologists often recommend an Angioplasty which is a procedure during which the surgeon inserts a balloon into the artery and inflates it in order to clear the blockage. This procedure can also be done with a laser, rather than the traditional balloon technique. Another very common heart surgery is the stent implantation where a surgeon (during an angioplasty surgery) inserts a mesh tube into the artery to keep it open allowing blood to flow. These surgeries paired with proper medication and a healthy diet can give cardiac patients a new lease on life after suffering from heart disease.
It’s important to remember that every patient is different and a cardiologists job is to prescribe a treatment plan to fit your specific needs, and that plan may be different from your spouse or sibling or friends. Caring for your heart health is a multi-pronged approach and changes to lifestyle are a significant part of living a long heart-healthy life. If you suffer from heart disease or suspect that you need to see a cardiologist, contact us today to meet with one of our expert physicians.