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Coronary Artery Disease: Helping a Loved One

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How can I help with daily activities?

People who have CAD may have a lot of physical limitations because of angina symptoms or shortness of breath with exertion or because of severe weakness. These people may rely on others for help with relatively simple but important tasks. If your loved one experiences trouble with daily activities, you and your family may choose to assume a large role in managing his or her day-to-day life. Some of the ways in which you can help are listed below.

  • Shopping for and preparing food. Most people recovering from surgery cannot leave their house on their own to shop for food and therefore depend on others for what they eat. If you can, ask neighbors and friends to help with grocery shopping. Also, you may be closely involved in the preparation of heart-healthy food for your loved one during recovery at home.
  • Providing a clean environment. Cleaning the house may be too difficult during recovery. But a clean environment can be important for both mood and health (to prevent infections). Caregivers should consider cleaning the house regularly or hiring a maid service. Also, the temperature and humidity of the home should be controlled as precisely as possible. The physical discomforts of recovery from surgery often get worse during hot, humid days, and air conditioners should be used during the summer, if possible.
  • Driving. For the first 3 to 6 weeks after surgery, or if your loved one can no longer drive because of chest pain or pressure, irregular heartbeats, fainting spells, or other complications of CAD-related heart failure, you may need to drive him or her to frequent doctor appointments.
  • Medicines. Most people with severe heart disease require multiple medicines to control their symptoms. Having a family member organize medicines into a special pillbox with one or more compartments for each day of the week can prevent the person from forgetting to take any medicines or taking them incorrectly.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 13, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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