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Living With Heart Disease

Your lifestyle affects your health, especially if you have heart disease. The little things you do each day really make a difference.

Food and fitness matter. So do controlling stress and not smoking.  And of course, you'll take your medicines and keep up with your doctor appointments and cardiac rehab.

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Lynn Swassing was just 48 years old, the mother of two sons in high school and one daughter in college, when she had a heart attack in 1987. She underwent quadruple bypass surgery and was hospitalized for nearly six weeks. Every single day, at some point, the hospital had an exercise specialist at the foot of my bed, she recalls. They told me, if you don't get active, you won't make it. No way,was Swassing's first thought. The full-time mom had never been on a treadmill in her life, and she...

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Also, stay in touch with your mood. For many people, depression comes along with heart disease. If you notice that's true for you, reach out to your doctor for help in treating your depression.

It may feel like you're going through a lot of changes all at once. It's a good idea to seek help from dietitians, doctors, and support groups to keep you on track.

Some of the keys to making changes include:

  • Have a plan before starting.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Make one change at a time. For example, quit smoking before changing your diet.
  • Write down your goal.
  • Prepare for lapses and relapses. They happen. What matters more is that you get back on track.
  • Reward yourself for your progress. Pick a reward that feels great and does not undermine your progress.
  • Keep up with your friends and family. Your social connections are good for you! 

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on August 20, 2014
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