The Heart of Care at Home
Listen to the Doctor
Regular checkups at your primary care physician are the first step to preventing cardiac issues. Your annual physical checks your weight, blood pressure, does an EKG to measure the electrical activity of the heart and blood work to make sure the body is in chemical balance. All these can impact the heart and its function.
If there are any issues, you may be referred to a cardiologist, a doctor that specializes in the heart.
The doctor may prescribe medication to help manage blood pressure or lower cholesterol, discuss diet and exercise along with additional testing as part of a cardiac health regimen.
The doctor may also want to have you monitor your blood pressure and pulse ox at home to measure your progess.
If you are a smoker, the doctor will encourage you to quit.
Your physician may recommend watching your diet. This may include reducing sodium to lower your blood pressure and eating less red meat to lower cholesterol while increasing your intake of heart-healthy foods such as fatty fish, leafy greens and whole grains.
Managing fats is also important to cardiac health. Monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil or canola oil and polyunsaturated fats, found in certain fish, avocados, nuts and seeds, also are good choices for a heart-healthy diet. When used in place of saturated fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help lower the total blood cholesterol.
Another important aspect of diet is watching portion size. The correct portion sizes to ensure the correct balance of nutrients.
How a Professional Caregiver Can Help
Professional caregivers can help prepare healthy meals and shop for healthy foods and snacks as recommended by a healthcare professional.
A caregiver can help monitor your weight daily, which is valuable information for the doctor. People who are on Lasix (water pills) need to monitor their weight closely to ensure the medication is working.