Treating Heart Disease

Treating Heart Disease

Protocols for treating heart disease are always based upon the severity and extent of the condition in each patient. Although mild to moderate cases of the condition are effectively treated with diet, exercise and medication, more advanced cases require surgical intervention. Invasive surgical procedures that treat the disease include coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG. In this procedure, the surgeon removes a vein, typically from the leg, and grafts it around a diseased or blocked artery to establish blood flow. This procedure is generally well tolerated and frequently the patient can return home within one week.

Another surgical procedure to treat the disease includes angioplasty. During this procedure, the physician fashions an excision in the area of the femoral artery and threads a balloon catheter through the artery. When the balloon catheter reaches the blocked artery, it inflates, pushing plaque and other debris against arterial walls, widening the coronary artery.

Medications used for treating heart disease include beta blockers. These medications slow and strengthen the contractions of the heart muscle so that it does not have to work hard. In addition, beta blockers are very effective in treating pain from angina, or chest pain. Although they can cause significant side effects such as fatigue, dizziness, weakness and cold extremities, beta blockers can greatly increase cardiac output and might even prevent a heart attack.

A heart healthy diet, or a diet that is low in fat is also effective in treating heart disease. It is best for patients who are already dealing with the disease to receive nutritional counseling and support from a professional nutritionist. A healthy diet that is low fat, but that also adds the necessary nutrients for a healthy body, can be customized for each patient. The follow-up to a healthy diet plan is to add a safe, healthy exercise routine to a patient’s weekly schedule. While over-exercising can be a danger, the right amount of moderate exercise under to supervision of a physician, can strengthen the heart and often add longevity to one’s lifespan.

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A healthy diet and moderate exercise also promotes weight loss and lower blood pressure, which are both risk factors in the development of heart disease. Eating a diet that is nutritionally healthy and participating in an appropriate fitness program can not only help to avoid the effects of heart disease, but it also can help other conditions as well. It is important however, to speak to a health care professional before starting an exercise routine, especially when established heart disease is already present.