Managing Heart Disease at Home

Heart Disease At Home

Heart disease is a prevalent health condition affecting millions of individuals worldwide. Understanding how to manage heart disease at home is crucial for individuals diagnosed with this condition. It involves a proactive approach towards lifestyle modifications, medication adherence, emotional well-being, and creating a supportive environment.

Understanding Heart Disease

Types of Heart Diseases

Heart diseases encompass a range of conditions affecting the heart, including coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, heart failure, and congenital heart defects. Each condition requires specific management strategies tailored to individual needs.

Causes and Risk Factors

Factors contributing to heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Recognizing these risk factors is pivotal in disease management.

Importance of Managing Heart Disease at Home

Effectively managing heart disease at home offers numerous benefits. It allows individuals to take charge of their health, reduces hospital visits, and improves overall well-being.

Lifestyle Modifications for Managing Heart Disease

Diet and Nutrition

A heart-healthy diet involves consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and limiting sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars.

Exercise and Physical Activity

Regular physical activity, as advised by healthcare professionals, helps improve cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, and manages weight.

Medication Adherence and Monitoring

Importance of Prescribed Medications

Strict adherence to prescribed medications is vital for managing heart disease effectively. It helps control symptoms, prevent complications, and maintain heart health.

Monitoring Vital Signs and Symptoms

Regular monitoring of blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and any unusual symptoms is crucial. It enables individuals to recognize changes and seek immediate medical attention if necessary.

Stress Management and Mental Health Support

Coping Strategies

Learning stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, and meditation can significantly reduce the impact of stress on heart health.

Seeking Emotional Support

Having a strong support system, whether through friends, family, or support groups, can alleviate emotional stress and provide encouragement during challenging times.

Creating a Supportive Home Environment

Reducing Environmental Triggers

Eliminating or reducing exposure to environmental triggers such as smoke, air pollutants, and excessive noise supports heart health.

Implementing Safety Measures

Ensuring a safe living environment by preventing falls, having emergency contacts readily available, and maintaining a clutter-free space is essential for those managing heart disease at home.

Emergency Preparedness

Knowing Emergency Procedures

Understanding and rehearsing emergency procedures such as CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and knowing when to call emergency services is crucial.

Creating an Emergency Plan

Developing a detailed emergency plan with contact information for healthcare providers, family members, and nearby hospitals is imperative.

Role of Family and Caregivers in Managing Heart Disease

Support System Importance

Family and caregivers play a pivotal role in providing emotional support, assisting with medication adherence, and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Caregiver Responsibilities and Support Resources

Educating caregivers about the individual's condition, medication schedules, and providing access to support resources can enhance the quality of care.

Integrating Alternative Therapies

Complementary Approaches

Exploring complementary therapies like acupuncture, yoga, or herbal remedies under the guidance of healthcare professionals can complement conventional treatments.

Holistic Practices

Adopting a holistic approach involving mind, body, and spirit can contribute positively to overall well-being.

Technology and Tools for Monitoring

Wearable Devices

Utilizing wearable devices like smartwatches or heart rate monitors can aid in continuous health monitoring.

Health Apps and Devices

Various mobile applications and devices are available to track physical activity, nutrition, and manage medication schedules.

Financial Management and Resources

Cost-Effective Care Options

Exploring cost-effective treatment options and seeking financial assistance programs can alleviate the burden of healthcare expenses.

Accessing Financial Assistance Programs

Many organizations offer financial aid and support services for individuals managing chronic conditions like heart disease.

Consultation with Healthcare Professionals

Importance of Regular Check-ups

Regular check-ups and consultations with healthcare providers ensure proper management, medication adjustments, and timely interventions.

Communication with Healthcare Providers

Maintaining open communication with healthcare professionals allows for better understanding, clarification of doubts, and proactive management.

Overcoming Challenges in Home Management

Dealing with Setbacks

Acknowledging setbacks, learning from them, and staying committed to the management plan is essential in the journey of managing heart disease.

Resilience and Persistence

Building resilience and staying persistent in adopting healthy habits despite challenges leads to better outcomes in heart disease management.

Conclusion: Empowering Self-Care for Heart Disease Management

Managing heart disease at home requires dedication, lifestyle modifications, emotional support, and a proactive approach. By implementing these strategies, individuals can take charge of their health and lead fulfilling lives.

Understanding Atrial Fibrillation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Understanding Atrial Fibrillation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Irregular Heartbeat


Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a common heart condition that affects millions of people worldwide. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of AFib, exploring its causes, symptoms, and various treatment options available.

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is a cardiac arrhythmia characterized by irregular and often rapid heartbeats. Instead of the heart's normal, coordinated contraction, the upper chambers (atria) quiver chaotically, leading to an irregular heartbeat.

Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

Age and Gender

AFib is more prevalent in individuals over the age of 60, and it tends to affect men slightly more than women.

High Blood Pressure

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for AFib.

Heart Disease

Conditions such as coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure can lead to the development of AFib.

Thyroid Disorders

An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) can trigger atrial fibrillation.

Recognizing the Symptoms


A fluttering or thumping sensation in the chest is a common symptom of AFib.

Fatigue and Weakness

People with AFib may experience unexplained tiredness, even after adequate rest.

Shortness of Breath

Breathlessness, especially during physical activity, can be an indication of AFib.

Dizziness or Fainting

In some cases, AFib can lead to lightheadedness or loss of consciousness.

Diagnosing Atrial Fibrillation

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

This non-invasive test records the electrical activity of the heart and can detect irregular rhythms.

Holter Monitor

A portable device worn for an extended period to monitor heart activity.

Blood Tests

These can identify underlying causes of AFib, such as thyroid issues.

Treatment Options


Anti-arrhythmic drugs help regulate heart rhythm, while anticoagulants reduce the risk of blood clots.


This procedure uses electric shocks or medications to restore normal heart rhythm.

Ablation Therapy

A minimally invasive procedure that targets the areas of the heart causing abnormal rhythms.


In some cases, a pacemaker is implanted to regulate heartbeats.

Lifestyle Changes for Managing AFib

Healthy Diet

A balanced diet low in sodium and saturated fats can help control blood pressure.

Regular Exercise

Engaging in moderate physical activity can improve overall heart health.

Stress Management

Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help reduce stress levels.


Atrial fibrillation is a complex heart condition that requires careful management. Understanding its causes, recognizing its symptoms, and exploring treatment options are crucial steps towards a healthier heart.


1. Can AFib be completely cured?

Currently, there is no known cure for AFib, but it can be effectively managed with the right treatment plan.

2. Is AFib a life-threatening condition?

While AFib itself is not usually life-threatening, it can lead to complications if left untreated.

3. Can lifestyle changes alone control AFib?

In some cases, adopting a healthier lifestyle may be sufficient, but many individuals with AFib require medical intervention.

4. Is AFib more common in certain ethnic groups?

Yes, some ethnicities have a higher predisposition to AFib, but it can affect individuals of any race or ethnicity.

5. Can stress trigger AFib episodes?

Yes, stress and anxiety can be triggers for AFib episodes, so managing stress is an important aspect of treatment.

3 Steps You Can Take TODAY That Will Help Your Heart Health

3 Steps You Can Take TODAY That Will Help Your Heart Health

3 Steps

The most significant and controllable factor for heart disease is your lifestyle. Your heart is a muscle and if not taken care of properly it can atrophy and become weaker, increasing your chances of heart disease. Below are a few quick steps that can enact today to start improving your heart health.

1: Start a Low Fat and Cholesterol Diet

A diet high in fats and cholesterol is linked to heart disease and related conditions. So the first step is to cut out these types of food and limit your intake. These types of foods result in an increase in the production of cholesterol in your bloodstream which can build up and narrow arteries. Foods that should be avoided/limited are foods such as red meats, processed meats, full-fat dairy, baked goods, and fried foods. Also, it is best to avoid large amounts of salt because it increases blood pressure, putting more strain on your heart. We suggest purchasing low-sodium alternatives and refraining from adding additional salt to your food. 

2: Increase Your Physical Activity

A second step is to increase your physical activity as not getting enough physical activity can lead to heart disease. It also increases your chances of developing other medical conditions that are risk factors such as obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The general goal per the mayo clinic is 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day This doesn’t have to be high-intensity training at your local gym, just simply walking for a little bit each day (broken up into 10-minute walks or more manageable times). If you can and have a membership, going to your local pool or community center can be a great way to get this exercise in. 

3: Stop Smoking and Decrease Your Alcohol Intake

There are also two major habits that you or your loved one can reduce/stop to greatly impact your heart health.  The first is drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure levels and can put you at risk for heart disease. You should limit your alcohol consumption to about one or two drinks per day maximum. Furthermore, alcohol leads to an increase in levels of triglycerides which are fatty substances in the blood linked to heart disease. The second habit is tobacco use. The smoke and nicotine cause damage to your heart and arteries which can be extremely difficult to undo. Secondhand smoke also increases your risk of heart disease. Changing these behaviors can greatly decrease your risk of heart disease. 

With just a few simple steps you can take great strides toward improving your heart health. These changes don’t have to be dramatic and all happen immediately, you can start by taking a short walk today (even a safe path within your home works well). The goal is to do better today than you did yesterday and make small impactful improvements. 

7 Things You Should Know About Heart Disease

7 Things You Should Know About Heart Disease

Heart Disease

The words heart disease and heart health are thrown around a lot when it comes to discussing one's health. There are lots of fears and questions surrounding it and rightfully so. According to the CDC, one in every four deaths in the United States is from heart disease. Furthermore, it is the number one killer for adults in the United States. When someone you love or yourself is diagnosed with one of these diseases you may experience shock, fear, and confusion. Heart disease is known as a silent killer for a reason and it lives up to that name well. So in this article, we will be covering 7 things you should know about heart disease. 

1. What Causes Heart Disease?

The three key risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. High blood pressure puts increased strain on your heart as it pumps blood throughout your body. HBP can weaken your heart to the point where it can’t properly push blood to the rest of your body. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made in the liver or found in different foods we eat. When extra cholesterol is made or digested it builds up in the walls of our arteries which leads to a narrowing and decreased blood flow to important parts of the body. Both of these risk factors are difficult to detect due to their lack of external symptoms but can be monitored via blood pressure cuffs and blood testing respectively. The final key risk factor, Tobacco use, can increase your risk of heart disease for a variety of reasons. Cigarette smoke damages the heart and blood vessels, nicotine raises blood pressure, and carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen your blood can carry throughout your body.

2. What Are Some of The Common Types of Heart Disease?

  • Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscles that makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the rest of the body. Chambers become enlarged resulting in suboptimal blood flow throughout the body. Cardiomyopathy is typically caused by viral infections in the heart or genetics. 
  • Congenital Heart Disease is a broad term for a wide range of heart birth defects that develop before birth. This can include defective vessels, leaky valves, and even holes in the heart. Serious cases require a heart transplant but in other cases, less invasive surgeries or treatments can be done. These conditions are relatively rare with less than 200,000 cases in the U.S. per year. 
  • Coronary Artery Disease, also often called atherosclerotic heart disease, is the damage or disease in the heart’s major blood vessels. This is often caused by the buildup of fat deposits called plaque that restricts the blood flow to and from the heart. The disease is very common with around 3 million cases in the U.S. per year. 
  • Heart Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat. This is caused by a malfunction of the heart's electrical field which will cause it to beat too fast, too slow, or out of rhythm. The most common type is Atrial fibrillation (A-Fib). This condition affects around 3 million Americans per year. Minor cases can be harder to detect due to a lack of symptoms while more serious cases are treated with procedures, implants, or medication. 
  • Heart Failure, sometimes called congestive heart failure, is a chronic condition in which the heart doesn’t pump blood properly. This is due to either stiff and thickening of chambers or the stretching and thinning of chambers in the heart. It is a chronic heart condition that is common with more than 200,000 cases in the U.S. per year. 
  • Heart Valve Disease occurs when the valves in the heart do not function properly. Though there are several different types of heart valve diseases the two most common are valvular stenosis which occurs when the valve does not fully open due to stiff or fused leaflets. The other is valvular insufficiency which is when a valve does not close tightly, often called a “leaky valve”. These conditions affect about 5 million Americans according to the American Heart Association. 
  • Pericardial Disease is the inflammation of any layers of the pericardium, a thin tissue sac that surrounds the heart. The pericardial is broken down into three layers, the visceral pericardium which is the inner layer that envelops the heat, the middle fluid layer that separates the upper and lower layers, then the parietal pericardium is the outer, fibrous tissue. Symptoms include chest pains, increased heart rate, and a low-grade fever. 

3. What Are The Common Sings of Heart Disease?

Unlike many other diseases, heart disease can be hard to detect due to its lack of present symptoms. However, the three most common signs/symptoms of heart disease are 

  • Arrhythmia
  • Heart Attacks
  • Heart Failure. 

Arrhythmia is simply the improper beating of the heart which is due to electrical impulses in the heart not working properly. They are extremely common with over 3 million cases in the United States alone (Mayo Foundation, 2021).  A common type of Arrhythmia is Atrial Fibrillation, also called A-Fib. Atrial Fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rhythm that can lead to blood clots in the heart. The heart's upper chambers (atria) beat out of sync with the lower chambers(ventricles) giving the condition its name. Those with Arrhythmia often feel a fluttering sensation in their chest or palpitations. 

The next common symptom is a heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction. Heart attacks happen when part of the heart does not get enough blood. Symptoms include tightness or pain in the chest, Heartburn, nausea, and vomiting are also common symptoms. Along with dizziness, extreme fatigue, and shortness of breath. Heart attacks can be deadly and it is best to get to the emergency room if you or a loved one is experiencing such symptoms. 

The final symptom is heart failure which is when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to support other organs in the body. When someone is experiencing heart failure they will often have symptoms such as shortness of breath both during daily activities and lying down. Unexpected weight gain with swelling in areas such as feet, ankles, legs, and stomach is also a common symptom. Additionally general feelings of tiredness or weakness. 

4. What Behaviors Increase The Risk of Heart Disease?

The biggest and most controllable factor for heart disease is your lifestyle. Eating a diet that is high in fats and cholesterol is linked to heart disease and related conditions. These types of foods result in an increase in the production of cholesterol in your bloodstream which can build up and narrow arteries.  Also, it is best to avoid large amounts of salt due to it increasing blood pressure. Not getting enough physical activity can lead to heart disease. It also increases your chances of developing other medical conditions that are risk factors such as obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Next, drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure levels and put you at risk for heart disease. It is suggested that you limit your alcohol consumption to about one or two drinks per day maximum. Furthermore, alcohol leads to an increase in levels of triglycerides which are fatty substances in the blood linked to heart disease. As mentioned in number one tobacco use is a huge and final risk when it comes to heart disease. The smoke and nicotine cause damage to your heart and arteries which can be extremely difficult to undo. Secondhand smoke also increases your risk of heart disease. Changing these behaviors can greatly decrease your risk of heart disease. 

5. Are Genetics A Risk Factor?

Genetics can play a role in developing heart disease however there are often other risk factors at play. If you have a family history of heart disease it is important to evaluate whether they shared a common environment or similar unhealthy lifestyle choices. Now when heredity and unhealthy living choices combine there is an increase in risk for heart disease but it is unlikely to develop just on heredity alone.

6. What Are The Treamtents For Heart Disease?

Treatments for heart disease vary depending on the condition and severity of it. Common treatments include lifestyle changes, medications, surgery, stents, pacemakers, and ablation. 

  • Angioplasty is a procedure that uses very little cutting to open up a blocked artery by the heart. 
  • Cardioversion is done in two different ways. One is a procedure in which a machine sends electrical energy to the heart muscle in an attempt to get your heart beating in a proper rhythm. For less serious cases medication may be prescribed or given through an IV to help slow or quicken your heartbeat. 
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is the repeated compression of a patient’s chest, performed in an attempt to restore the blood circulation and breathing of a person who has suffered cardiac arrest. 
  • Drug-Eluting Stents is a small metal mesh coil that is placed in a blocked coronary artery. This coil is coated in medication to help reopen an artery and keep it open. 
  • External Counterpulsation (EECP) is a non-invasive treatment that lowers the number and intensity of angina episodes. Treatment is administered through pairs of inflatable cuffs applied in certain areas of the body. 
  • Heart Bypass Surgery is when a surgeon takes blood vessels from another part of a patient's body and goes around a blocked artery. This allows for more blood and oxygen flow to the heart. 
  • A Heart Transplant is a surgical transplant procedure performed on patients with end-stage heart failure or severe coronary artery disease. The diseased or failing heart is removed from the body and a healthy donor's heart is then put in place.
  • Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators are small battery-powered devices placed in the chest to detect and stop irregular heartbeats. The ICD continuously monitors the heartbeat and delivers electric shocks to restore a regular heart rhythm. 
  • Stents are small mesh tubes that hold open passages in the body such as weak or narrow arteries. 
  • Ventricular Assist Device is a device that is implanted in your chest to help pump blood from your lower heart chambers to the rest of your body. 

7. Can Heart Disease Be Cured?

Heart disease cannot be cured but treatments such as the above can help manage the symptoms and reduce the chances of problems such as heart attacks. The best treatments are to make lifestyle changes and prevent your risk of heart disease. Regular exercise and decreasing your intake of unhealthy, especially fatty, foods is the best way to prevent heart disease. 


Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, October 1). Heart arrhythmia. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved March 3, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-arrhythmia/symptoms-causes/syc-20350668?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=abstract&utm_content=Cardiac-arrhythmia&utm_campaign=Knowledge-panel 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, September 27). About heart disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved March 18, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/about.htm 


Matthew Laming

Client Relations Specialist at GLHCU. Graduate of Northwood University. General Geek and Nerd Enthusiast.

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The 9 Most Common Questions About Hypertension

The 9 Most Common Questions About Hypertension

What does hypertension mean?

Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. Now just having high blood pressure randomly does not count as hypertension, your blood pressure needs to be higher consistently when measured. There is a 10 mm Hg threshold however where if someone falls within this normal range they are considered to be elevated and at risk for hypertension but not having the condition itself. 

Why is hypertension called the silent killer?

Hypertension is considered a silent killer since it is often undetected or unmonitored. Yes, blood pressure cuffs can be used to track one’s blood pressure but often individuals don’t pay it much mind. Furthermore, symptoms often don’t appear until the condition is critical. 

Are Hypertension and Blood Pressure the same?

They are not the same. Blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure your circulating blood has against the wall of blood vessels. Systolic blood pressure is the pressure exerted when blood is ejected into arteries while diastolic blood pressure is the pressure exerted within arteries between heartbeats. Furthermore, the two types of common blood pressure conditions are hypertension and hypotension. As mentioned before hypertension is when your blood pressure is too high while hypotension is when your blood pressure is too low which can create its own issues. 

How is Hypertension diagnosed?

Hypertension is diagnosed via recorded blood pressure levels. Per the CDC normal blood pressure for an adult is close to 120 mm Hg systolic and 80 mm Hg diastolic. If the measurement is in the 120 to 139 mm Hg systolic and 80-89 mm Hg range the blood pressure is considered elevated and at risk for hypertension. Finally, if an individual has a consistent blood pressure reading of 140 mm Hg systolic and 90 mm Hg diastolic they are considered to have hypertension. Proper diagnosis will come from a medical professional. 

What causes hypertension?

The causes are a variety of effects over time. Things such as unhealthy lifestyle choices and other medical conditions can lead to the development of hypertension. Living a sedimentary lifestyle and eating unhealthy are two common and controllable causes of high blood pressure. 

Where does hypertension occur?

Hypertension occurs thought the body, anywhere there are blood vessels. However, the damage caused by high blood pressure often affects more than just the arteries. It can also damage the heart, brain, kidneys, and even eyes. 

How does Hypertension affect the body?

There are a few different ways hypertension can affect the body. First arteries can be damaged and impacted by high blood pressure which causes them to “have trouble supplying blood to the heart” resulting in “chest pain, irregular heart rhythms or a heart attack”(Mayo Clinic, 2022). Next, the increased difficulty moving blood forces “the heart to work harder to pump blood to the rest of the body” which “causes the lower left heart chamber to thicken”(Mayo Clinic, 2022). A thickened ventricle will increase your risk of things such as heart attacks, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death. 


Next high blood pressure can affect the brain. “Studies suggest that high blood pressure can lead to mild cognitive impairment” stronger than what is typically experienced in old age (Mayo Clinic, 2022). In more serious cases “narrowed or blocked arteries can limit blood flow to the brain” leading to vascular dementia (Mayo Clinic, 2022). Hypertension can also affect the brain when damaged blood vessels “narrow, rupture or leak” resulting in brain cells losing oxygen and nutrients and therefore causing a stroke (Mayo Clinic, 2022). This can also happen when blood clots form in the arteries near the brain. Finally, it can cause a transient ischemic attack which is a “brief, temporary disruption of blood supply to the brain” (Mayo Clinic, 2022). This is often caused by hardened arteries or blood clots.  


When it comes to your kidneys there are two different kidney conditions caused by high blood pressure. The first is kidney scarring which is when “tiny blood vessels within the kidney become scared and unable to effectively filter fluid and waste for the blood” (Mayo Clinic, 2022). This often leads to the second condition kidney failure of which high blood pressure is one of the most common causes.  The “damaged blood vessels prevent kidneys from effectively filtering waste from the blood, allowing dangerous levels of fluid and water to collect”. 


Finally, high blood pressure can cause damage to your eyes. Hypertension can cause “damage to the blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye” which can lead to “bleeding in the eye, blurred vision, and complete loss of vision” (Mayo Clinic, 2022). High blood pressure can also lead to fluid build-up under the retina often called choroidopathy. This can result in distorted vision and scarring of the retina. Finally “blocked blood flow can damage the optic nerve” leading to bleeding in the eye or vision loss. 

When is hypertension dangerous?

Hypertension can be dangerous at any time if not handled properly and changes are not made to your lifestyle. However, the higher the blood pressure the more dangerous it can become, and if your blood pressure ever reads over 180/110 you must seek medical attention right away since this is considered a hypertensive crisis. 

Can hypertension be cured?

There is currently no cure for hypertension however steps can be taken to lower your blood pressure over time. These include lifestyle changes, medication, and other controllable factors that often result in high blood pressure. This is more effective when done early and with more mild cases. We have created a list of these steps for your convince in a handy guide. Just click the button below. 



Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, January 14). How high blood pressure can affect the body. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved June 23, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045868#:~:text=High%20blood%20pressure%20forces%20the,failure%20and%20sudden%20cardiac%20death. 


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