If you have coronary heart disease (CHD), you can take steps to control its risk factors and prevent complications. Lifestyle changes and ongoing care can help you manage the disease.
Having CHD raises your risk for a heart attack. Thus, knowing the warning signs of a heart attack is important. If you think you're having a heart attack, call 9–1–1 right away. For more detailed information about heart attack warning signs, go to the section on warning signs below.
Adopting a heart healthy lifestyle can help you control CHD risk factors. However, making lifestyle changes can be a challenge.
Try to take things one step at a time. Learn about the benefits of lifestyle changes, and make a plan with specific, realistic goals. Reward yourself for your progress.
The good news is that many lifestyle changes help control several CHD risk factors at the same time. For example, physical activity lowers your blood pressure and LDL cholesterol level, helps control diabetes and prediabetes, reduces stress, and helps control your weight.
For more information about adopting a heart healthy lifestyle, go to the section of this article titled "How Is Heart Disease Treated?" You also can visit the Health Topics Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors article for more information.
Your CHD risk factors can change over time, so having ongoing care is important. Your doctor will track your blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels with routine tests. These tests will show whether your doctor needs to adjust your treatment.
Ask your doctor how often you should schedule followup visits and blood tests. Between visits, call your doctor if you have any new symptoms or if your symptoms worsen.
You may feel depressed or anxious if you've been diagnosed with CHD. You may worry about heart problems or making lifestyle changes.
Your doctor may recommend medicine, professional counseling, or relaxation therapy if you have depression or anxiety. It's important to treat these conditions because they raise your risk for CHD and heart attack. Depression and anxiety also can make it harder for you to make lifestyle changes.
If you have CHD, learn the warning signs of a heart attack. Heart attack signs and symptoms include:
If you think you're having a heart attack, call 9–1–1 at once. Early treatment can prevent or limit damage to your heart muscle.
If you think you're having a heart attack, do not drive to the hospital or let someone else drive you. Call an ambulance so that medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room.
Let the people you see regularly know you're at risk for a heart attack. They can seek emergency care if you suddenly faint, collapse, or have other severe symptoms.
Most people who have broken heart syndrome make a full recovery within weeks. The risk is low for a repeat episode of this disorder.
To check your heart health, your doctor may recommend echocardiography about a month after you're diagnosed with the syndrome. Talk with your doctor about how often you should schedule followup visits.
Celebrating American Heart Month: NIH Advancing Heart Research
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Heart Disease in Women, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
The Heart Truth®—a national heart disease awareness campaign for women—is sponsored by the NHLBI. The campaign's goal is to give women a personal and urgent wakeup call about their risk for heart disease.
Every woman has a story to tell and the power to take action to protect her heart health. Share your story with other women on Facebook.
The Heart Truth campaign offers a variety of public health resources to help educate women and health professionals about women’s heart disease.
Learn more about key campaign events, activities, and resources at www.hearttruth.gov.
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.