Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary Heart Disease Living With

Receive follow-up care

It is important to get routine medical care and to take all medicines regularly, as prescribed, as part of your treatment plan.

  • Follow your healthcare provider’s directions, and do not change the amount of your medicine or skip a dose unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Talk to your provider about how often you should schedule office visits and blood tests.
  • Call your provider if you have any new symptoms, if your symptoms worsen, or if you have problems with your blood pressure or blood sugar.

Cardiac rehabilitation

You may be referred for exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation to manage symptoms and reduce the chances of future problems such as heart attack. Studies have shown that cardiac rehabilitation lowers the risk of hospitalization and death. It can also improve your quality of life.

Prevent serious problems over your lifetime

Your provider will work with you to manage medical conditions that can raise your risk of heart problems and complications.

  • Your provider may suggest heart-healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating heart-healthy foods, being physically active, and quitting smoking. You may be referred to other professionals, such as a registered dietitian or exercise physiologist. Your healthcare provider can help you set up a personal plan to meet your health goals.

There are benefits to quitting smoking no matter how long or how much you have smoked. Coronary heart disease risk linked to smoking begins to decrease soon after you quit, and it generally continues to decrease over time.

  • You may be given a statin to lower your LDL cholesterol , especially after a heart attack.
  • You may need aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke. Low-dose aspirin may help prevent blood clot and lower the risk for heart attacks and other complications of coronary heart disease for some people, particularly those with microvascular disease or who have diabetes. Talk to your provider before taking aspirin because it raises the risk of serious bleeding.
  • If you have diabetes, you will need to check your blood sugar regularly and keep taking any prescribed medicines.
  • If your coronary heart disease has gotten worse or has led to a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest, your doctor may recommend a pacemaker or defibrillator to detect and treat certain types of irregular heartbeats, or arrhythmias.

Take care of your mental health

Living with heart disease may cause fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. You may worry about having heart problems or making lifestyle changes that are necessary for your health. Talk with your healthcare provider about how you feel and consider seeking other forms of support.

  • Talk to a professional counselor. If you have depression or anxiety, you may also need medicines or other treatments that can improve your quality of life.
  • Join a patient support group. This may help you adjust to living with heart disease. You can find out how other people manage similar symptoms. Your provider may be able to recommend local support groups, or you can check with an area medical center.
  • Seek support from family and friends. Letting your loved ones know how you feel and what they can do to help you can help relieve stress and anxiety.

Learn the warning signs of serious complications and have a plan

Serious problems from coronary heart disease can be life-threatening and may lead to disability.

In Brief: Your Guide to Living Well With Heart Disease factsheet

In Brief: Your Guide to Living Well with Heart Disease

Learn key steps to improve your heart health to prevent complications.

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