2020 was a challenging year, and 2021 continues to add even more to many of our daily stressors.
Receiving a new diagnosis of heart disease is a known physical and emotional stressor. It is normal to feel worried, scared, angry and stressed after an event like this both to the patient and to loved ones.
While we cannot control our lives' events, we can learn how to manage our stress level better.
Some tips for managing the challenges and stressors:
- Communicate to each other how you are feeling. Avoid "device talk," and have that conversation face to face.
- Do not deny your own needs; take care of yourself so you can take care of others.
- Have realistic expectations for each other, prioritize your schedules as a family.
Cardiac Risk Factors
Those you can control:
- Hypertension is the #1 cardiac risk factor and the world's greatest risk factor for death and disability. Have your blood pressure checked regularly.
- High Cholesterol- a major risk factor for cardiac disease. Know your cholesterol levels; they can be managed with appropriate medication. Incorporate dietary changes and physical activity.
- Smoking causes nicotine to adhere to the inside walls of your arteries. Smoking cessation is vital to the prevention of a cardiac event, including vaping.
- Nutrition, poor diet is a leading risk factor for death and disability. The best improvements in heart health through risk reduction is following the Canada Food Guide. Excess alcohol negatively affects heart health.
Those that are not in your control:
- Age-over 65 years of age.
- Genetics- Family history
- Co-morbidities-Diabetes, Peripheral Vascular Disease, Autoimmune diseases
- Ethnicity- First Nations, African American, Hispanic
- Gender- Male
- Stress causes an inflammatory response in the Cardiac anatomy, such as Takotsubo syndrome - "Broken Heart Syndrome" from extreme grief/tragic experience.
For more information, visit heart and stroke at https://www.heartandstroke.ca/
Submitted by Brandon Heart Program Nurses:
Sandra Atkinson, RN
Joey Pattle, RN