Unlike other illnesses, most cardiovascular diseases are preventable. You have control over your heart health! You and your SSM Health provider can work together to build a plan to help minimize your heart disease risk and live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Heart disease treatment for women may include healthy behaviors, the use of prescribed medication and, in severe cases, medical procedures to restore the flow of blood to your heart.
Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Treatment for heart disease often starts with adopting new habits. Regular exercise, a heart-healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking can go a long way toward keeping risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure in check.
- Stop smoking: Smoking doubles your risk of heart attack and increases your risk of sudden cardiac death. In fact, post-heart attack survival rates are greatly reduced for those who smoke. An estimated 390,000 Americans die each year as a direct result of smoking, the majority from heart attack and heart disease.
- Stay active: A regular exercise program can contribute to heart health and weight reduction. Swimming, cycling, jogging, skiing, aerobic dancing, walking, and other activities can have a positive effect on your heart. Whether it's part of a structured exercise program or just a component of your daily routine, all physical activity adds up to a healthier heart.
- Eat right: Cardiologists recommend reducing dietary fats and cholesterol and following a healthy eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. SSM Health has a dedicated team of registered dieticians who can assist you with your nutrition needs. Ask your physician for a referral.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight puts a strain on your heart, and can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. SSM Health Weight Management Services has developed both non-surgical and surgical programs to help our patients manage their weight.
- Know your numbers: High blood pressure, high cholesterol and elevated triglycerides all put you at an increased risk for heart disease. Know your numbers and then work with your doctor to come up with a plan to keep them in range.
Medications for Heart Disease
While lifestyle changes are the first step in reducing heart disease, sometimes they’re not enough. In this case, your doctor may also prescribe certain medications, including:
- ACE (Angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitor
- Beta blocker
- Nitrates (including nitroglycerin)
- Calcium-channel blocker
- Thrombolytic agents
It’s important to take your medications exactly as prescribed. If you have any questions or concerns, schedule an appointment with your SSM Health provider today. Our team is dedicated to helping you live the healthiest life possible. We’ll walk you through all of your medications, including the risks, benefits and how to properly take them.
If you have advanced heart disease, blocked arteries or other severe symptoms, you may require special procedures to help open the arteries and improve blood flow.
- Angioplasty: Coronary angioplasty, also known as balloon angioplasty, uses minimally invasive cardiac catheterization to widen the arteries. During this procedure an interventional radiologist threads a balloon-tipped catheter to the site of the narrowed or blocked artery and then inflates the balloon to open the vessel.
- Stenting: Vascular stenting, which is often performed at the same time as angioplasty, involves placing a small wire mesh tube called a stent in your newly opened artery. The stent is a permanent device that is left in the artery to help keep it open.
- Coronary artery bypass graft surgery: A coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is a surgical procedure in which blood is rerouted around clogged arteries to improve the blood supply to the heart.
- Off-pump bypass surgery: Off-pump - or beating heart - bypass is a newer way to perform CABG that allows the heart to continue its natural beating during surgery.
The SSM Health Heart & Vascular Care team brings together some of the most experienced physicians performing the most advanced treatments for heart disease in women. We understand the unique risks for women and will work with you to create a treatment plan that helps you live life to the fullest. Find a provider and make an appointment today!