Managing Heart Disease - Feb. 2013
Signs and Symptoms and How You Can Live Heart-Healthy
February is American Heart Month and a good time to make steps toward a heart-healthy lifestyle. But where should you start? A good beginning is to familiarize yourself with the often confusing terminology of heart issues. What’s the difference between heart disease and a heart attack? What about CHF? What terms should you be familiar with?
Heart disease is encompassing term that includes various conditions affecting the heart including coronary artery disease (CAD), congestive heart failure (CHF) and heart attack. CAD occurs when plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. The arteries narrow, making it difficult to provide the blood with enough oxygen to function. Plaque mostly consists of cholesterol and accumulation is increased by smoking and diabetes.
Heart failure, known as CHF, occurs when the heart weakens and cannot supply the body with the blood flow it needs. Heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart stops working, it just means your heart can’t keep up with your body’s demands. Over a period of time, your heart increases in size so it can hold more blood, it pumps faster to increase the amount of blood it can pump out.
Both CAD and CHF can contribute to a heart attack, a sudden interruption in the heart’s blood supply due to a blockage. If the heart can’t receive blood due to a blockage, cells can very quickly die. Emergency medical treatment is important for treating the condition. Each year, more than 1 million Americans suffer from a heart attack.
There are many treatments available for heart disease, but early detection is key. Call your doctor if you’re feeling very tired, have trouble getting around, or feel your heart beating in your chest. Other symptoms include chest pain, dizziness and a fast heart rate.
If diagnosed, your doctor can suggest various treatments which could include medication, lifestyle changes and frequent monitoring. Home monitoring systems can be helpful for early detection, like Tabitha’s Honeywell HomeMed Telemonitoring system. This recently upgraded state-of-the-art system allows you to collect your heart rate and blood pressure at home and transmit the results to health professionals for review.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans. Learning the terminology and signs can help you live happy and heart-healthy!
To learn more about how Tabitha’s telemonitoring system can help manage chronic conditions like heart disease, contact a Tabitha Continuum Navigator at 402.486.8520. They can walk you through the easy-to-use device and suggest how it might help you catch irregularities before they become full-fledged problem.
A few simple, easy changes can help your heart stay healthy and fit.
- Eat more fruits and veggies – doctors suggest that fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that may help prevent heart disease. Keep vegetables washed and ready to go for meals. Try to add a fruit for a daily snack.
- Limit fats and cholesterol in your diet – cholesterol from foods has a direct affect on your susceptibility for coronary artery disease. Limit foods with solid fats such as butter, margarine and shortening. Try oils instead and lower-fat options for your favorite foods.
- Quit smoking – chemicals in smoke can damage your blood vessels and contribute to the narrowing of your arteries.
- Move more – regular exercise helps you manage your weight and lessen your chances for developing heart-straining diseases. It also helps to reduce stress, another contributing factor to heart disease.
- Know your numbers – make it a priority to get regular blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes screenings. Early detection of abnormal results is important in treating heart issues.
- Be pro-active – contact a Continuum Navigator at 402.486.8520 to see how a home telemonitoring system could work to manage existing conditions.