Heart Disease Treatment
For some people, lifestyle changes, such as a heart-healthy diet, exercising more, and quitting smoking, are the only heart disease treatment that's required. When lifestyle changes alone are not sufficient, medication may necessary. Treatment for heart disease may also include procedures such as angioplasty or open heart surgery. Your exact treatment will depend on your overall health, the extent of your disease, and your risk of problems in the future.
Treatments for heart disease can include lifestyle changes, medications, and special procedures. The goals of these treatments are to:
- Relieve heart disease symptoms
- Slow down or stop atherosclerosis by controlling or reducing the heart disease risk factors
- Lower the risk for blood clots, which can cause a heart attack
- Widen or bypass clogged arteries
- Reduce cardiac events.
Everyone with coronary heart disease needs to make some lifestyle changes as part of treating heart disease. These changes are designed to reduce a person's risk factors for the condition. Some of these lifestyle changes can include:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet to prevent or lower high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol (see Diet and Heart Disease, DASH Diet, or Low Cholesterol Diet)
- Quitting smoking, if you smoke (see Smoking and Heart Disease)
- Exercising as directed by your doctor (see Heart Disease and Exercise)
- Losing weight, if you are overweight or obese (see Weight and Heart Disease or click BMI Calculator to find your ideal weight)
- Reducing stress (see Stress and Heart Disease).
Adopting new habits, such as not smoking, following a heart-healthy eating plan, maintaining a healthy weight, and becoming more physically active, can go a long way in helping to reduce your risk for worsened heart disease. You may need to manage certain risk factors vigorously. For example, having heart disease means that if you have high levels of a type of cholesterol called low density lipoprotein (LDL) -- the "bad cholesterol" -- your goal should be to bring the level to below 100 mg/dL. Review your risk factors for heart disease with your healthcare provider, and discuss how to reduce or eliminate each one. For some people, these changes may be the only heart disease treatment needed.