It can be quite the emotional setback for a family to learn that one of their loved ones has been diagnosed with Heart Disease. Family members of the person diagnosed may feel scared, guilty, emotional, anxious and/or depressed after finding out, and how they react to the situation can end up influencing the patient’s well-being as well.
To cope with such a situation is difficult, however, this is also the time when the role of one’s family becomes a lot more important. With patience and efforts, the family can make the diagnosis easier for their loved one to deal with.
The most important aspect of the family’s role in the life of a person who has been diagnosed with Heart Disease is to take care of the environment at home. A happy, supportive family can make a tremendous difference in the way a person diagnosed with Heart Disease copes with their diagnosis.
By keeping the individual suffering from Heart Disease occupied with positive thoughts and jovial moments, stress levels caused by the diagnosis can be decreased to a great extent. It is also important for everyone in the family to properly understand the situation and the medical condition itself. Honest conversations reduce stress levels and also keep the family aware of how to deal with any unfortunate situations appropriately.
Managing the Diet
Family can be of great help in making sure that one eats right and maintains a healthy heart.
Replacing butter or regular vegetable oil with heart-healthy oils such as canola, soybean, olive and flaxseed is great for the heart. Meals should be prepared and consumed at regular intervals and every portion should be a healthy combination of high fibre, low fat and low cholesterol food choices.
It is also important to maintain a low sodium diet. In fact, indulging wisely in a healthy diet is good for everyone in the family. Preparing healthy meals together is also a great idea to involve everyone in the family.
Staying active and maintaining the body metabolism with the right amount of physical activity is an important part of the treatment. Heart patients cannot do a lot of physical activity due to their weak heart health. However, this does not mean that they need to lead a sedentary lifestyle.
It is advisable to start slow with realistic goals for strength and weight training. Physical activity at short intervals like walking for 30 minutes every day five times a week really helps. It is a good idea for the family to be involved too. Physical activity will keep everyone together and help to lower the risks of heart problems in other family members too.
Let everyone in the family grab a comprehensive understanding of the medical regimen that the person affected needs to follow, this includes keeping a close watch on the blood pressure, heart rate and the pulse rate.
Nausea, fatigue, frequent urination, irregular pulse, swollen feet, ankles, abdomen and shortness of breath are some symptoms that a heart patient can suffer from. The patient can also feel weak and experience mood swings. Everyone in the family will need to empathise with the emotional needs of a family member diagnosed with Heart Disease.
Heart patients are required to take medication at regular intervals. Organising the pills efficiently to avoid any misses is also a great form of support a family can provide.
Last but not the least, it is extremely important to visit the doctor regularly. There can be visits to multiple specialists like the nephrologist, rheumatologist, dietitian, cardiologist etc. Hospital visits and regular checkups can be a lot better psychologically for the patient with the family’s support.