LIVING WITH A CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

Taking care of cardiovascular diseases starts by doing regular physical activity, having a balanced diet and stopping smoking. It is really important that the patient is committed to his/her well-being. 

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Regular exercise (at least 30 minutes per day) reduces the recurrence of myocardial infarction and risk of stroke by making the heart pump more blood through the body so that it can continue working at optimal efficiency with little strain. This will likely help it to stay healthy longer. Regular exercise also helps to keep arteries and other blood vessels flexible, ensuring good blood flow and normal blood pressure.

Note that exercise is beneficial not only for cardiac patients, but also for many other diseases: it reduces the risk of breast cancer or colon cancer, diabetes and has a positive impact on mood. Minor changes in lifestyle are thus encouraged, such as taking the stairs instead of elevators, walking rather than taking the car, etc.

Other elements to be aware of are diet and cholesterol. A healthy and balanced diet, meaning just a small amount of salt, sugar or fat is essential in reducing cholesterol. It is also really important to encourage smokers to quit. Cigars have very devastating consequences on the cardiovascular system. Finally, stress is not really taken into account by a lot of people, but it does just as much harm as the other factors. 

CARDIAC PATIENTS MUST TAKE THEIR LIVES INTO THEIR OWN HANDS

Patients must be familiar with the disease to understand and take better care of themselves. It is easier to take a pill than make a lifestyle change. Patients must learn, with the help of their doctor and their entourage, to change their behaviors gradually.

As such, understandable and accessible medical information plays an important role in the responsible management of the condition. We need to not only explain the disease, but also the treatments: why a drug is prescribed, how it acts, how effective it is. This motivates people to follow their treatment, because we know that half of the prescribed medications are not taken by patients.

Information must not only have a positive impact on patients, but on those closest to them as well (spouse and family). Everyone should be informed to help patients take care of themselves with encouraging comments and the making of their everyday life easier.

The goal of therapists is to get cardiac patients in shape and reintegrate them into society. In some severe cases, occupational rehabilitation remains particularly difficult when the patient has a lot of pain or shortness of breath.

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