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Work Your Body, Work Your Mind

It took me a long time to admit that I wasn’t successfully coping with my depression and anxiety on my own. It took even longer to come up with a plan to fight back against my own...

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Dr. Matthew DeVane

Dr. Matthew DeVane

Cardiologist and researcher

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Top 5 Things to Do

Living with heart disease can encompass anything from experiencing heart disease symptoms to recovering from a traumatic event like a heart attack—but no matter where you are on the scale, here are five things that you can do that will help you get by and get better:

1. Get smart about heart disease.

When it comes to heart disease knowledge is power. Do your homework! There are lots of resources out there and it is up to you to gather the valuable tools you will need to manage your disease. That includes knowing your risk factors, the exact condition of your heart and the best methods for preventing a heart attack. Most important, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor lots of questions!

2. Share your fears.

You’ve got a lot on your plate, both physically and emotionally. To help ease your burden, release your anxiety by talking about your fears with friends and family. If you feel they can’t relate to what you are going through, hook up with a survivor network in your area. Letting go of your fear can have a tremendous positive effect on your health.

3. Honor your new lease on life.

Some say that surviving a heart event is like getting a chance to hit the reset button on life! Honor this experience by choosing to embrace a new way of living—whether it is making major lifestyle changes to your diet or fitness routines, getting rid of bad habits like smoking or making more time for the things you enjoy the most. Get out there and embrace new ways of thinking and doing!

4. Try and stress less!

Studies have shown that heart disease is more than a physical condition. Stress and anxiety have a great impact on how the heart functions as well as how it heals. Choose a positive thought, do something that brings you joy and don’t let the little things get you down. Try integrative treatments that calm the mind and the heart like meditation, yoga, healing touch or acupuncture.

5. Anticipate changes in your mind and body.

When it comes to heart disease, no two patients are ever alike. Over a period of time you will notice changes in your body; in your physical ability and even your emotional state. Realize that nothing is static and your body will change as your heart adapts and heals. The golden rule is to take things day by day…if you feel really awful, don’t be afraid to call 911. If you notice improvement and feel really great, don’t look at is as an excuse to let your healthy new habits slide. Wherever you are is constantly subject to change!

Posted: 7/22/08