According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for adults in the United States. Therefore seeking chest pain treatment is crucial, especially for those at high risk for heart disease. However, chest pain can result from various health issues, so how does one know when it…
What You Need To Know About Heart Disease Treatment
Looking into your heart disease treatment options? Read on to learn more. You might need heart disease treatment if you’ve been diagnosed with any condition that falls under the term heart disease. There are many types of heart disease and many of them are preventable.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for every one in four deaths.
An overview of heart disease treatment
Heart disease treatment typically starts with a cardiologist talking to a patient about their family and individual medical history. Tests might also be ordered to help pinpoint the cause of the patient’s heart problems. Some of the diagnostic tests that are used to evaluate heart disease include electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, stress or exercise tests, CT or MRI scans, or even cardiac catheterization.
The treatment options a cardiologist recommends depend on multiple factors like the type of heart disease a patient has, their lifestyle, how often they exercise, and their sleep quality.
The first line of defense against heart disease is making lifestyle changes that promote positive heart health. For example, quitting smoking goes a long way when treating heart disease. People who smoke have an increased risk of developing atherosclerosis. Quitting can help to prevent such complications from developing.
Other lifestyle changes that can help to reduce a person’s risk of developing heart disease include:
- Eat healthy foods: Diets that consist mainly of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits help to prevent heart disease. Saturated fats, salt, and sugar should only be consumed in moderation
- Blood pressure regulation: Uncontrolled blood pressure increases a person’s risk of developing health issues like heart disease. According to the American College of Cardiology, anyone over the age of 18 should get their blood pressure taken every two years at a minimum. People who are over the age of 40 or have risk factors for heart disease should be evaluated more often
- Manage cholesterol levels: Doctors recommend getting a baseline cholesterol test in your 20s and follow-up tests every four to six years. People who have a family history of high cholesterol might need to be checked out more often
- Manage blood sugar levels: Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease so keeping your blood sugar in the healthy range may protect against heart disease
- Exercise: Physical exercise can help to maintain a healthy weight and manage issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which are all risk factors for heart disease. Exercise also strengthens the heart
- Manage stress: Coming up with effective strategies to manage stress can help against heart disease. Stress leads to the production of cortisol, making it easier to gain weight, especially around your midsection
If lifestyle changes prove to be ineffective at addressing a patient’s heart issues, other treatment options include:
Various drugs can be used to control the symptoms of heart disease and prevent complications. Factors like the type of heart disease a patient is dealing with determine which drugs are prescribed for them.
Surgical treatments are typically used as a last resort when lifestyle changes and medication have failed. The type of heart disease the patient has determines the surgical method that will be recommended.
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A cardiac stress test compares the performance of your cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels) during exercise against its performance at rest. The types of stress tests include an electrocardiogram (EKG) or an exercise stress test, stress echocardiography, and nuclear stress test. Cardiac stress tests are used to identify heart problems, such as inadequate blood…
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An echocardiogram uses sound waves to gather and evaluate information about a person's heart. Cardiologists often use echocardiograms when they need more information about your heart's size, shape, and function. They may also need it if you are experiencing chest pain or shortness of breath. Continue reading below to learn about echocardiograms and why healthcare…